'no more tests 05.30.09 [150]' photo (c) 2009, timlewisnm - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Final exams are here again at IEI! How do you feel this term? Do you think you are ready to pass all of your tests? Maybe you feel you are ready, but you still get nervous or anxious when tests are just around the corner. If you do then you are not alone. Some people even develop a strong form of test anxiety.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) list the following as symptoms:

Physical Symptoms: including headache, nausea, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, and light-headedness among others
Emotional Symptoms: can include anger, fear, helplessness and disappointment
Behavioral/Cognitive Symptoms: are often manifested in difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively and comparing yourself to others

Your anxiety can be mild, or strong but regardless, we all want to turn our negative anxiety into positive exam energy. The ADAA recommends that being prepared, developing good test-taking skills, maintaining a positive attitude, staying focused, practicing relaxation techniques, staying healthy, and visiting a counselor if needed are all ways to reduce this anxiety.

iRelate, an online source of emotional support and advice, echoes many of these tips from the ADAA. The also encourage keeping a positive view of exams, suggesting that viewing exams as a challenge and an adventure is much more motivating than seeing them as ‘academic torture.’ Regarding sleep, they offer this:

“Exams are challenging and writing essays is very hard work. So it’s not a great idea to stay up swotting all night long. Keep healthy hours and put your work away for at least an hour or two before bedtime – you’ll fall asleep easier if you’re relaxed and refreshed before you hit the sheets.”

They also recommend being early to give yourself time to rest and take a breath, avoid braggers and panic-mongers since they will only get you worked up, and to reward yourself with a healthy celebration when the tests are done!

So, remember this: You have worked hard to get to where you are today with your language skills and that is already a major accomplishment. You are successful! These tests are just one piece of the bigger picture. Use them for what you can get out of them, then re-tool and move forward. The future holds plenty of adventure and challenge to keep us excited about what is coming next!