by A. Grano on October 18th, 2011 at 7:00 am
Students of all ages can be prone to test anxiety, particular around crucial end-of-year exams. The good news? A recent University of Chicago study published in the journal Science found that students who wrote down their test-taking fears 10 minutes prior to the exam improved their scores by almost an entire grade point.
One of the study’s lead researchers explained that feeling pressure to perform can deplete the brain’s working memory, which aids information retrieval. Writing down worries allowed the study participants to “free up” wasted energy and anxieties, enabling them to perform optimally.
Researchers suggest that this tactic can be useful for not only students, but anyone anticipating a high-stress situation, such as giving a work presentation, may benefit from this activity.
Additional tips for conquering test anxiety
- Getting enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food before a test can help keep your mind working at its best.
- Think positive. Reminding yourself of past successes and how hard you’ve prepared can help set a troubled mind at ease.
- Don’t cram. If a big test is approaching, don’t wait until the night before to prepare. Instead, plan to study in advance, and the night before, focus on relaxing and getting some sleep.
- Go natural. Natural remedies can settle jitters, including: Passion flower, a naturally soothing remedy which acts as a safe, effective and non-addictive nerve tonic; Rosemary, well-known as a general tonic and energizer; Gotu Cola, traditionally used as a tonic for the brain and nervous system, supporting circulation to all areas of the body; and Gelsemium, an excellent remedy to support balance especially during times of common nervous anticipation, when there is a tendency to go ‘blank’.
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