April 19, 2017
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With the rising expectations in the society of today and the obligations of self-entitlement, this gives today’s generation an insane amount of pressure to succeed. But what determines this pressure? What’s at the pinnacle of all this stress for students today? Well for many students across the nation, the answer is tests.
When students have strong cases of test anxiety, it influences their performance on tests. “I think my test anxiety has affected my test results on numerous occasions” says senior Skyler Bodin. “In some cases my anxiety has caused me to completely blank out, freeze up, and temporarily forget the material I had studied so hard in the previous week.” But Bodin is not the only one who experiences this anxiety. While it’s common for most students to have increased stress level around tests, a report from the American Test Anxieties Association in 2013 stated that 16-20% of students across the nation have high test anxiety. Another 18% have moderate cases.
So what’s causing all this stress and anxiety over some pieces of paper? There’s numerous ways that students can acquire it. The first one is pretty obvious in the sense that it’s a test. Why wouldn’t you be worried? Some people might make the claim of, “Well if you studied and you’re prepared for it, then you should have nothing to worry about,” which might be one of the most inaccurate claims in today’s generation. Junior Caroline Arnis says “Most of the time teachers just assume that we’re lazy or aren’t driven. But in reality we care so much that we crack under the expectations from people around us and ourselves.” Arnis also talked about how communication on this topic is important, stating, “I think something that would be more helpful for the student body would be better communication between teachers and students about stress and anxiety”. And she’s not wrong. If you have test anxiety, having a conversation with your teacher is a good idea. But another issue within students is shyness. “It’s rare that students mention it to me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there” says AP English 11 and AP World History teacher Brad Underland. “This time of year I feel like I’m so often saying don’t take more AP classes than is healthy for you.”
The ways that it affects students can vary. Common symptoms would be lack of sleep before a test day, lack of an appetite, difficulty concentrating, nausea, headaches, rapid heartbeats, or even feelings of different emotions, and many more. But the overwhelming feeling of test anxiety comes with several of those symptoms.
Although there may be no direct way to completely get rid of the anxiety that comes with tests, there are methods you can try out to help reduce test stress.
Test anxiety is a stressful thing to deal with in your life, especially if you’re an AP student. But although the tests may seem like such huge deals, know that your results don’t reflect on your value as a student.