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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Workshop focuses on test anxiety

Test anxiety affects the lives of UA students both in their exam scores and self-esteem. Today, a test anxiety workshop is being held in order to help students combat the disorder.

According to the UA Campus Health Service website, one-third of all college students experience test anxiety. This is a type of stress defined as a physical symptom creating nervousness, self-defeating thoughts and worry during evaluative situations.

Leslie Ralph, a psychologist for Counseling and Psych Services, provides test anxiety workshops each semester around campus for different colleges that request them. This semester, she is providing them for the Transfer Student Center, Honors College and the College of Medicine. 

Test anxiety differs from other types of stress that students face, because it revolves around exams and feeling like students are going to be evaluated.

“It is similar to stress because it affects the way students go about their day and their thinking and feeling,” Ralph said. “Many students think exams are the end of the world if they don’t get a great score. It’s very common to see people expecting the worst possible scenario.”

This mainly occurs with “really good students or students who really care a lot about school” according to Ralph. In diagnosing test anxiety as a disorder, she pays attention to whether students are distressed and if the anxiety is interfering with their functioning.

Elle Deagle, a finance sophomore, said she believes she has test anxiety depending on how well she is prepared for the test. She said she usually studies in a quiet room while listening to music with her headphones.

“I just try to take it day-by-day and break it down,” Deagle said. “There is no point in stressing out over it, because it is going to happen regardless. I just try to calm myself down and go through the process one step at a time.”

Amy Veals, a pre-nursing sophomore, said she feels that she has test anxiety before an exam. She said she likes to study with a group or partner, but if she studies by herself, she plays music.

“The best way to manage anxiety is to leave myself plenty of time to study and time to take breaks in-between to relax or study a different subject,” Veals said.

The “vicious cycle” of test anxiety starts when students do poorly on an exam or there is a lot of stress built up around the exam; then, students get nervous, and it affects their performance. Students subsequently feel worse about themselves and feel more anxious about the next exam.

“It affects each subsequent exam,” Ralph said, “and, each time, you feel more and more [anxious] and less capable of managing it.”

The test anxiety workshop at the Transfer Student Center will take place today at 3 p.m. Students can learn how to manage their stress and prepare themselves for exams more effectively to eliminate their anxiety. Ralph will give her advice regarding test anxiety on April 29 from 5-6 p.m. at the Bear Down Gymnasium.


Follow Amber White on Twitter.

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