It's normal to feel a little nervous and stressed before a test. Just about everyone does. And a touch of nervous anticipation can help you get revved and keep you on your toes while you're taking the test. However, for some people, this normal anxiety is more intense. The nervousness they feel before a test can be so strong that it interferes with their concentration or performance. Some students experience mainly physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, faintness, feeling too hot or too cold, etc. Others experience more emotional symptoms such as crying easily, feeling irritable, or getting frustrated quickly. The problem with feeling nervous for a test is its effect on thinking ability. It can cause you to blank out, or have racing thoughts that you can't control.
What can our students do to control test anxiety?
MAKE A PLAN
This week in Bridge we focused on tips for studying for midterms. We had each student develop a studying plan for each of their exams. Many parents have concerns that their student does not know “how” to study. Studying skills may look different for each child as they are a visual, auditory, or hands-on/tactile learners. To acquire study skills that work, students need to first have a routine that is consistent. Students should find a designated area at home that is quiet and free of distractions (little brother or sister, television, cell phones, ipods, xbox, etc.).
Below is a self assessment we utilize in Bridge on study habits. After it is complete, the students consider their own habits and decide if their are changes they can try to implement that will make for a more effective student.
How can parents help?
Provide a quiet place to study and do homework
Encourage students to work for a period of time and take a breaks
Help your son/daughter develop a system to keep track of important papers (binder, folder, etc.)
ORGANIZATION AND STUDY SKILLS
Use your agenda book
Check off assignments as you complete them
Estimate how long it will take you to complete each assignment
Circle the verbs in the directions
Review class notes and highlight the important details
Before reading, Preview (review the headings, pictures, captions, tables, charts, graphs, and vocabulary)
Use context clues and dictionaries to figure out the meaning of unknown words
Make an outline
Make a web/graphic organizer
Use a peer tutor
Before a writing assignment…
Read the directions three times
Highlight each part of your assignment
Check when the assignment is due and estimate how much time it will take you to complete each part
Organize your thoughts and brainstorm your ideas with a graphic organizer
Good writers write at least two drafts
After writing your first draft, reread the directions to make sure you have answered all of the question and completed all of the steps
Proof read your writing, check for purpose, clarity, neatness, punctuation, spelling, overused adjectives, and supporting details. Make sure your writing is “showing” with details and not just “telling”
Before the test…
Reread the sections in your book
Reread your notes and highlight key information
Predict what questions might be asked on the test
Space out your studying over several days
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
The Bridge Program: Burlington High School