Column: Coaches’ Corner: Dealing With Test Anxiety

By: Nikki Purkeypile, HWPS Achievement Coach

Coaches Corner is a monthly column written by the CNM Acheivement coaches. Look for the next installment of Coaches Corner in issue 12.

Do you have a tendency to freak out before or during a test? Does your mind go blank even though you have studied the material? Does your heart rate go up, and do your hands get sweaty? If so, you may have test anxiety.

At the monthly Achievement Coach meet­ing, clinical therapist Merry Guild provided some train­ing on reducing test anxiety.

Now, if you are anx­ious because you have not studied, then that is normal! However, if you have studied a little each day and taken good notes, your reaction is not healthy.

Achievement Coach Barbara Burrows recom­mends a ritual called “3 of 3”. Do three sets of three repetitive actions, such as three shoulder rolls, three neck rolls, and rolling a pen between your hands three times.

One of your sets can also be three positive com­ments about yourself. This will ground you in the pres­ent moment and distract your mind from thinking negative thoughts.

You can also try this technique before the test. Do not worry about looking silly! You will be surprised at how much better it can make you feel.

Sit in a chair. Rate your anxiety level on a scale of zero to 10, zero being calm and relaxed and 10 being very anxious.

Tell yourself silently, “I can do this. I will be successful.”

Place your feet flat on the floor, relax your shoul­ders and lift your chest to allow proper air flow. Lay your hands palm-up on your legs. Close your eyes.

Take long, deep breaths, in and out, through your nose. Continue breath­ing and count one on the in-breath, two on the out-breath.

Continue until you are at level three or below.

Achievement coaches are located at each campus in the event that you would like to schedule an appointment to practice this further.

You can find contact information by going to cnm. edu/achv/index.php. Click on the top-left hand side where it says “Contact AC”.

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