Friday, December 3, 2010

Test Anxiety and the Lies we Believe About Them

I observed an interesting dynamic with this past exam. The two required books for the test were both dealing with anxiety and truth "self-talk," but the exam itself caused anxiety in many students. An article that was published in the College of William and Mary Student newspaper addressed this issue of test anxiety and stress, especially around final exams. This article was written specifically for the William and Mary Students, but the feelings that the author portrayed could apply to any College or University.
While reading the article I found many misbeliefs about finals presented. These misbeliefs contribute to the stress that surrounds final exams. The first false belief is "For some of us, these aren't just grades, but possible gateways to premier graduate programs and stellar careers." Although grades are important, they are not the end-all for one's future plans and need to be kept in perspective. Also, the final exam is not the only aspect that determines one's final grade. If an individual has been working hard all semester, then the final is just a continuation of what has already be occurring.

The second false "self-talk" in this article is: "If that wasn't enough, we are constantly reminded that the rest of society is off enjoying the beginning of the holiday season." This statement only adds to the student's pity-party and is not based on any truth. People all over, no matter their life stage, still have to fulfill commitments and the holiday season has to fit into these commitments.

Based on the reading of "Telling Yourself the Truth" and the "Anxiety Cure," during this time of final exams, students, myself included, need to make sure that our "self-talk" is based on truth and seek to reduce stress as much as possible.


  1. Great thoughts, Bretta. I think with the amount of stress one can have being a student, how helpful both of these books would be in helping a student keep things in perspective, and to take better care of themselves in this time of life.

  2. In the past I used to have more test anxiety than I do now. The reason for that is that back then, a lot of my final grades depended on that final exam. I have learned to try my best all semester so that the final exam will not affect my final grade.

  3. I am stressed already reading this and thinking about finals. Lol!! ;) This is true though. I think our brain will easily believe myths or lies than truths. When this happens, it compounds the problem. We need to learn how to be consistent and faithful in our academics so that we won't always have to make everything depend on that one final. This I believe will help a lot of students reduce anxiety.


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