Midterm Stress? Performance Enhancement Center Can Help!
Are you stressed about your performance on upcoming midterms? As a student, you might get nervous when you have to take exams. This may or may not be test taking anxiety. If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you might be experiencing test taking anxiety.
- Physical symptoms. Headache, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, light-headedness and feeling faint can all occur. Test anxiety can lead to a panic attack, which is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort in which individuals may feel like they are unable to breathe or having a heart attack.
- Emotional symptoms. Feelings of anger, fear, helplessness and disappointment are common emotional responses to test anxiety.
- Behavioral symptoms. Difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively and comparing yourself to others are common symptoms of test anxiety.
Here are some tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), if you are experiencing symptoms of test anxiety.
- Be prepared. Develop good study habits. Study at least a week or two before the exam, in smaller increments of time and over a few days (instead of pulling an “all-nighter”). Try to simulate exam conditions by working through a practice test, following the same time constraints.
- Develop good test-taking skills. Read the directions carefully, answer questions you know first and then return to the more difficult ones. Outline essays before you begin to write.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Remember that your self-worth should not be dependent on or defined by a test grade. Creating a system of rewards and reasonable expectations for studying can help to produce effective studying habits. There is no benefit to negative thinking.
- Stay focused. Concentrate on the test, not other students during your exams. Try not to talk to other students about the subject material before taking an exam.
- Practice relaxation techniques. If you feel stressed during the exam, take deep, slow breaths and consciously relax your muscles, one at a time. This can invigorate your body and will allow you to better focus on the exam.
- Stay healthy. Get enough sleep, eat healthfully, exercise and allow for personal time. If you are exhausted—physically or emotionally—it will be more difficult for you to handle stress and anxiety.
The Georgia State University Counseling and Testing Center has a Performance Enhancement Center designed to help you work through test anxiety or any other performance issue you may have, such as anxiety before performing in sports or public speaking.
At the Performance Enhancement Center, students are first assessed to see with what areas they are struggling. Following the assessment, a program is specifically designed to fit each student’s needs. Biofeedback is used to help you visualize how your biological systems work. For example, software can show you what your heart is doing and how basic changes in your breathing and how you think can influence your heart beat and overall health, ultimately helping you control your performance anxiety. For more information, please visit our Performance Enhancement Center or call 404-413-1640 to make an appointment.