Experiencing sweaty palms, a rapid heart rate and nausea shouldn’t be the standard response before taking an important exam. However, for many students this has become a debilitating reaction when the pressure to perform academically affects their test scores.
I became more aware of this situation when my 13-year- old niece started “choking under pressure” on her math exams. She did well at solving problems in class. She completed her homework on time and received good scores. But when it came to the day of a math test, she would become anxious, her stomach would hurt and she failed to complete all the questions on the test. Consequently, her parents focused on personally sitting down to help her with homework assignments, assuming this would overcome her anxieties.
So it was just by chance that I picked up the January 14, 2011, issue of Science to read over lunch, when I came across the title “Writing About Testing Worries Boosts Performance in the Classroom”. The title seemed counterintuitive though. Writing about fears makes them disappear? But as I’ll convey here, timing is everything. Continue reading “Writing Your Worries Away”