Test Anxiety Myths Do You Know These Test Stress Facts?
What would you say are some of
the myths surrounding test stress and how to control it? It is very
helpful to know these myths so you don't fall victim to them. Remember
that being test savvy is only one part of being a good test taker.
The other part is being able to handle your anxiety so you can maintain
a good mind-body state that allows you to be mentally clear, calm,
poised and to have wonderful recall and be organized and sharp.
Here are ten common myths about test anxiety.
Ten Test Anxiety Myths
Do You Know These Test Stress Facts?
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
What would you say are some of the myths surrounding
test stress and how to control it? It is very helpful to know these
myths so you don't fall victim to them. Remember that being test
savvy is only one part of being a good test taker. The other part
is being able to handle your anxiety so you can maintain a good
mind-body state that allows you to be mentally clear, calm, poised
and to have wonderful recall and be organized and sharp. Here are
ten common myths about test anxiety. How many do you know?
- Only Poor Students Get Nervous Before Or During Tests: False.
Anyone can become nervous with tests. Sometimes excellent students
perform beautifully on tests, but they pay a tremendous price
with their stress symptoms.
- Perfect Study Habits And Perfect Test Preparation Guarantees
That Test Stress Will Stay Away: False. It is true that confidence
comes from competence, but students who ignore the "performance
aspects" of test taking are setting themselves up for stress reactions.
Stress control techniques need to be practiced as much as any
other aspects of test preparation.
- Students Who Experience Test Stress Are Mentally Weak: False.
Controlling stress has nothing to do with mental weakness. Handling
stress is all about developing the mental skills and the stress
control skills needed to keep stress at manageable levels.
- Simply Ignoring Test Stress Will Make It Go Away: False.
Test stress will find you and grab you if you do not take positive
steps to cut it off early. Simply trying to pretend it is not
there causes a wide range of physical, emotional and mental stress
symptoms that result in devastating performance decrements in
- Students Who Handle Test Stress Well Are Born With Special
Mental Powers: False. Anyone can learn stress control skills
and the mental skills that are required for successful test taking
and academic performance.
- Test Stress Can Be Successfully Reduced Or Eliminated By
Will Power Or Intelligence Alone: False. Will power and IQ
has almost nothing to do with handling stress. If that were true,
the smartest students would never have stress, and we all know
that they feel plenty of stress.
- If You Become Nervous Before Or During A Test, That Proves
You Did Not Study Well Enough: Partially false. Even students
who study like crazy can become nervous before and during tests.
However, it is true that if you truly know your material, and
have taken the proper practice tests, you will handle stress far
better than someone who does not do this.
- Test Stress Reduction Techniques Are Complicated And Difficult
To Learn: False. Stress management methods for test stress
control are simple, easy to learn and practice, and be performed
anywhere. Usually no one even knows they are being applied.
- Simply Taking Test Preparation Classes And Many Practice
Tests Will Guarantee That Test Stress Will Be Eliminated: False.
This is one of the biggest myths out there, and one that fools
and damages many students and confounds parents. Most SAT prep
programs, as wonderful as they are, do NOT address the performance
aspects of test taking. They focus on the content, and some test
psychology pieces, such as test construction and knowing how to
be test savvy. The performance aspects of handling stress is rarely
taught in SAT prep courses. This stress control piece is what
makes or breaks most students when testing under pressure.
- Once Test Stress Shows Up, You Are In Major Trouble And
Can't Stop It: Partially true. It is true that stopping stress
early is easier than stopping a full-blown stress reaction, but
there are plenty of ways to manage stress once in the test, even
if you feel it coming on stronger.
Test stress hits everyone, regardless of age,
background, academic ability, IQ, socioeconomic status and all other
factors. The bottom line is this. Do you have a robust toolkit of
stress control strategies and techniques at your disposal, ready
to apply in all testing situations? I am ready to help you learn
these, master these and apply these to your unique situation.
Knowing about educational psychology and being test savvy
is certainly an important part of being a good student, but top students who
get consistently high grades also have a knowledge base and applied skills in
stress control and peak performance. You need to know how to manage your mind,
calm your emotions and relax your body so you can get into the “test zone”,
that powerful, deeply focused mind-body state that gives you excellent recall,
mental alertness and clarity. You need to learn these skills and become mentally
tough so you can handle the extreme pressures of academia. Other mental skills
training you need are visualization, confidence-building, mental readiness training
and motivation skills.
To learn this set of mental toughness, zone, and stress control skills, sign up for our special Test Anxiety Stress Reduction Program. You can also take this no-cost assessment of your test-taking skills.
Copyright © 2011-
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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