Jessica Danilewitz, M.A., C.C.C.
Being a student is stressful. The semester gets started and before you look around and gather your bearings it’s already time for midterms. As if the academic work load wasn’t enough to handle on its own other parts of life start becoming stressful and overwhelming too. Suddenly the stakes feel higher for this exam and the sweaty palms, heart rate elevation, and negative thoughts start kicking in (“I’m going to fail”). Test anxiety is real and it can be debilitating. It can stop you from thinking clearly and being able to access the information you worked so hard to store in your memory. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe that with the right tools, techniques and guidance anyone can learn to walk into their exam a little bit more confidently and clear headed, so that you can focus on the test and only the test.
I like to take a three-pronged approach when combatting test anxiety:
When working with clients I come from the perspective that the client is the expert on his or her experience. They have completed exams in the past, know how prepared they are for the exam, and they know what is getting in the way now from performing like they used to. Working collaboratively to better understand and prepare for obstacles, capitalizing on strengths, and learning healthier coping strategies are all important parts of learning to manage student anxiety. - JD
Jessica provides individual and group supports at FLEX Psychology. She is co-facilitating our Start Fresh Learning Strategies group at the end of August and our Managing Student Anxiety group in September. She is also available for individual support in our Thornhill office and online.
After nearly a decade of success in supporting bright and gifted high schoolers and post-secondary students, FLEX is excited to announce our updated and expanded fall-prep learning group. This year we are adding a co-facilitator, meaning students will benefit from working with both FLEX's founder Michael Decaire and our new learning intervention specialist and therapist Jessica Danilewitz. We are also expanding our year long offerings, with all group attendees getting free access to our monthly tips and tricks training videos, support newsletters, and webinars.
This group fills up every year, so do not hesitate to book your spot soon and take your first step to Start Fresh with FLEX.
You can CLICK HERE to learn more about the Start Fresh group, view our group schedule HERE, or CONTACT US to reserve your spot right away.
Author: Michael Decaire
I have worked with many College and University students who have struggled to show their full abilities on final exams. They believe they simply need to study harder or earlier, but attempts to do so are met with limited success.
In my experience we see four common problems that are contributing to poor performance on final examinations:
(1) Not studying in an organized fashion. Our memory is like a filing cabinet. It relies on good categorization or "labels" in order to properly store and access information. File it incorrectly and it will not be accessible on an examination.
(2) Not doing enough rehearsal. There is a lot going on inside our brains. Neuro-pathways connect information and create a complex set of forks in the road that may not be easy to navigate. Rehearsal increases the likelihood the right pathway is taken and the speed at which one can traverse it goes up.
(3) Taking the test wrong. I have seen students use every strategy in the book while studying only to abandon their strategic approaches once in the exam. What part of the test do you do first? Most students start with multiple-choice. That's a mistake. This increases the amount of less-than-usefull information active in your short term storage and will only lead to confusion once you get to the more focused work (e.g. short answers or essay). Leave multiple-choice for the end.
(4) Poor sleep hygiene. If you are not getting enough sleep your memory becomes compromised, your attention span drops, and you are more sluggish. Too bad you are now about to go into a memory test where you need to be focused and work really really quickly. Go take a nap.
The FLEX team offers workshops to boost academic performance. Our College/University exam workshop runs November 9th at 6pm. Only $40! Click here to learn more.
Author: Michael Decaire
Almost everyone I assess complains of having a bad memory. While legitimate impairments in acquisition of memory (more of an information processing deficit) and retention (that's pretty rare actually) exist, clients are rarely complaining about forgetting something from the past. Generally people forget and get in trouble for failing to remember to do things in the future. Essentially we are talking about forgetting to not forget to do something. It is as much an mechanism of attention and is referred to as a prospective memory failure.
Wired Magazine had a nice little brief on this (click here) and talked about the use of "geolocation" reminders to prevent you from making these errors. Maybe now you won't forget the milk.
The information provided on the Think FLEXibly Blog is for educational purposes only. These documents are not intended to be considered therapeutic guidance, nor should they be followed as a substitution to a well established therapeutic relationship.