Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980
N.Y. (December 5, 2003) -- Christmas break for college students
is, as the song says, a most wonderful time of the year. But
there's still one hill to climb: finals, a most nerve-wracking
time of the year. While some stress can actually be a positive
motivator for taking these end-of-term tests, too much stress
can interfere with a student's performance. With a couple
weeks left in the semester, it’s time to focus on getting
through this demanding time.
Dolores Cimini, Ph.D., director of Middle Earth, the University
at Albany’s Peer Counseling service, offers this advice to
help make the end-of-the-semester experience less stressful:
with your anxiety
Try to determine the source of your test anxiety. If it stems
from a lack of preparation on your part, your anxiety is a
rational response. However, if you believe that you are prepared
for the test but are still panicking or overreacting, this
might be an irrational response. Either way, it can be very
helpful to know how to work with their effects.
for those tests and assignments
The best ways to minimize preparation anxiety:
• Avoid cramming, which can produce high levels of anxiety
and is not helpful in trying to learn a large amount of material.
• Instead of trying to memorize all of the intricate details
from an entire semester’s worth of notes, try combining everything
and learning the larger, main concepts first.
• When studying, try to create questions that could possibly
be asked on the test. Try integrating ideas from lectures,
notes, books and other readings.
• If it is impossible to cover all of the material for the
test, choose one portion that you know you will be able to
cover and present well.
It can help to change the way you think about taking tests.
A test does not predict your future success or determine your
self worth. Changing attitudes can actually help you enjoy
studying and learning:
• Remind yourself that it is only a test and there will be
• Reward yourself when the test is over.
• Think of yourself in a positive way. Think of all the hard
work you have done already or think of what you do know.
• Plan ways to improve next semester.
forget the basics
• Think of yourself as a total person, not just as a test
• Maintain proper nutrition and exercise, and continue some
of your social or recreational activities. It is okay to take
a break once in a while.
• Make sure you get plenty of sleep. You cannot function at
your best if you are tired.
• Do something relaxing when you feel adequately prepared.
Finally, when test day comes,
make sure you eat breakfast and avoid caffeine. Caffeine can
give you the jitters and disturb your concentration. Again,
try to do something relaxing before the test. Cramming minutes
before can produce anxiety. Get to the test early. This way,
you can pick out your seat away from anxiety-ridden classmates
and other distractions.