I thought I overcame my test anxiety, it turns out I still have it. Let’s start from the beginning. Six years ago, I decided to start my higher educational journey here at CCBC. I didn’t know that I had test anxiety until I got my first closed notes exam. It wasn’t until my spring semester of my second year at CCBC. My first statistic exam unlocked what was hidden inside, which is my test anxiety. I came out shaking and exhausted. My heart was beating so fast and I was so tired. I sat down and thought to myself, there is going to be three more like this exam this semester, are you going to do this every time? If you keep it up like that, you will have no energy left in you. At that point, I decided to do something about it.
As usual, I found a resource at CCBC to help me with what I needed. I attended a workshop about test anxiety that was going on at the Career Center on the Essex Campus. I learned from this workshop to keep breathing during the exam if my anxiety starts to kick . That was helpful because breathing is so connected to your nervous system and it makes sense that it will help you with anxiety. Around that time I was starting to practice meditation on a regular basis and that helped me a lot with my test anxiety. I would always meditate first thing in the morning to start my day with so much peace and calm.
The first test I had with no test anxiety was when I had my Abnormal Psychology class. It was open notes, so I wasn’t stressed about memorizing or forgetting anything. That was very helpful. I do believe that every test should be an open notes test. If you have good notes, that means you studied and you deserve to pass the class. Besides, in real life we don’t need to memorize anything. We are constantly searching things up and using resources to find information. I feel if you are not stressed about memorizing, that will help you retain more information after the exam or after you finish the class.
I thought that I overcame my test anxiety after my Abnormal Psychology class, but I didn’t. Since I started to take my core classes in my major, which is Behavioral Health Counseling, I didn’t have any closed notes tests for quite some time. All of my assignments were projects and research papers, so I wasn’t all stressed about that. Then, came my Biology class and that’s when I realized that test anxiety is still in there. I was so stressed before my first exam because this was the first time I had a closed notes exam in two years. I didn’t know what to expect and that’s what added to my anxiety. Throughout the weeks before the exam, I was studying so hard to the point my coworkers noticed my anxiety. Everyone knew that Rama is having a biology exam , which she is so stressed about.
I finished the exam and I got 112%. I was too prepared for this exam to the point I just finished and left the class early. The first thing I did was I ordered chicken quesadilla from the Essex cafeteria. I was so hungry, so I ate it so fast and I enjoyed every bite. That was the best quesadilla I ever had. The problem was I don’t usually eat gluten or dairy. My body doesn’t agree with this food. From that day on I have been eating all kinds of foods that don’t agree with my body. All that was the after math of my test anxiety. It didn’t stop until one day I was meditating for a solution to this problem. I still have three more tests like that, and I can’t keep this up and make my body pay the price for my anxiety.
While I was meditating, I remembered the first day of my biology class. I was so happy and excited to have my first in- person class after two years of having classes from my bedroom. This class was my first in- person class after the pandemic. It’s also my last and final class for me to take here at CCBC. I remembered how I decided to enjoy this last class before graduation. I also remembered how I felt so blessed that I got to experience an in- person class before I graduate from CCBC. All of this made some sense to me. It made a lot of sense. Do I really want to spend my last semester stressing over exams or do I want to enjoy every last moment as a student here at the place I love and call my second home? The answer is so obvious by now. I want to enjoy this last class even through the exams. I don’t want to take this in- person class for granted after spending two years feeling disconnected from social interactions while taking my online classes from my bedroom. I want to finish happy, in peace, and strong.
I decided to study smart not hard for the rest of the exams. After each class, I would answer the exam review that’s posted on Brightspace for each unit. This was my way of going over the class materials while getting ready for the next exam. I typed all the questions and answers on a word document, which has a new feature that reads everything back to you. I would listen to the review over and over again to help me memorize the answers before it’s time for the exam. That took care of the fear of forgetting the information, but what really took care of the root of the problem is what I’m about to tell you. When I meditated before studying and when I got closer to the exam date I did this:
I visualized that all of the information I’m reading is getting into my brain in a very organized matter. I visualized that the information of each chapter is stored in my brain side by side and when It’s time to answer the question, my brain just brings it to me easily. Now all this visualization helped my brain to know that there is no unknown to be scared of when the test is here. It was like a clear plan for my brain to follow when it’s time for the test.
On the test day of the exam, I arrived an hour early. I sat outside and I was enjoying the sun. I took out my exam review and just started to read it calmly without testing my memory, just reading it one last time before the exam. I also had a very soothing music on to relax me while I’m reading. I took the test and this time it was much better than the first time. The best part is that I didn’t get a chicken quesadilla after I was done with the exam. I have a good feeling my coming two exams will be much better too. I think this time I can say, I overcame my test anxiety
I would like to thank my biology professor for being so patient with me and for answering all of my questions. Professor Gong, if you are reading this thank you so much for helping me get ready for an anxiety free exam. Your exam review was amazing!
I hope this long blog will help you if you have test anxiety. I wanted to post it before finals, so it will be in time to hopefully benefit you. I’m sending you all good vibes for finals week. You all got this !No need for any test anxiety
Until next time my friend