Avoid anxiety by being prepared for tests, experts say

March 01, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

There are steps students can take to avoid getting anxious about tests, South Hagerstown High School officials say.

The best way to avoid test anxiety is to be prepared and know the material, said Sally Schmidt, a school psychologist.

A good night's sleep the night before also is helpful, she said.

Students should learn the material that will be tested on and not try to "cram" the night before, she said. And it is a bad idea to try to study right up to the minute the class starts, she said.

Instead, she suggests thinking about other topics during the hours right before the test, she said.

Schmidt suggests using relaxation techniques during the last few hours before a test.

Counselors and teachers at the school also have advice about how students actually take the test.

If you do not know an answer, move on to another question instead of dwelling on the unknown, counselor Susan Starsinic said.


Answer the questions that you are pretty sure of first, she said.

It helps if the students are familiar with the type of questions that will be asked on the quiz because then the test will seem less foreign, she said.

"It is not facing the unknown," she said. She paused and added, "It may not be facing something they want to do but it is not unknown and they seem comfortable."

It also helps if students eat well the day of a test.

At Springfield Middle School, bags were assembled containing items distributed to the students on Maryland School Assessment test days, Principal David Reeder said last week.

One day students would get a snack such as a banana or an apple, while another day they may get a pencil or an eraser, he said.

Told of the school's actions, Schmidt said, "I love that idea."

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