Our teen is facing midterms next week. For all students with tests or SATs in their future, here's a hint.
Before the test, write down your worst fears; express your concerns; get it out of your system. So say researchers from the University of Chicago in a study on how to help students who panic or freeze before an exam.
"Writing about their worries allows the students to reexamine the testing situation and reappraise it," said the lead researcher. "This frees memory resources and increases the ability to focus."
I would have thought it would be counterproductive to confront the fears right before a test. But a psychology professor not involved in the study said that that "Putting your thoughts and feelings down has been shown to increase emotional and even physical well-being," much like writing the blues.
Now, the real question might be, why even bother to test? As reported in The New York Times, another study has found that testing, not studying, is what really makes the concepts stick.
So, dear students preparing for midterms, there is a solid reason for testing, beyond grades and torture.