Managing Stress Workshop by the Student Support Services at the University of Utah Objectives of the Workshop



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Managing Stress

Objectives of the Workshop

  • To equip students with information about college stress due to tests.
  • Improve test taking skills
  • Help students cope better with college stress and anxiety
  • Equip students with study skills and techniques

Stress Causes Anxiety

  • Although we tend to think of stress as caused by external events, events in themselves are not stressful. Rather, it is the way in which we interpret and reac to events that makes them stressful.
    • Stressors are something with the potential to cause stress
      • Life events(Marriage, death in the family)
      • Schoolwork issues (hard classes, heavy workload)
      • Relationship Problems
      • Daily Grind (homework, deadlines, irritating people)
      • Problems at work

Effects of Stress in College

  • Nervousness
  • Having difficulty reading and understanding the questions on the exam paper.
  • Having difficulty organizing your thoughts.
  • Having difficulty retrieving key words and concepts when answering essay questions.
  • Doing poorly on an exam even though you know the material.
  • Mental blocking: Going blank on questions.
  • Remembering the correct answers as soon as the exam is over.

What Can Help Stress

  • S=Study Skills
  • T=Time Management
  • R=Reducing Stress
  • E=Examination Preparation
  • S=Self Talk
  • S=Seek Support

Make the Most of Your Study Time

  • Studying before the test
    • Plan to spend 2 or 3 hours for every hour that you spend in class.
      • There are exceptions, but for the most part, this is a good general rule to follow. The benefits of following this rule will be apparent at exam time
  • Study difficult (or boring) subjects first
    • Study the boring stuff when you are wide awake
    • Get up an hour early in the morning, and study the fun stuff

Studying Tips

  • Avoid scheduling marathon study sessions
  • Know your best time of day
    • Do you learn best during the day, or at night
    • Schedule your most difficult subjects during your best study times.

Studying Tips

  • Be Prepared
    • Learn your material thoroughly
  • A program of exercise is said to sharpen the mind
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam
  • Learn to say no!

Make a To Do List

  • Prioritize
    • A-Highest Priority, getting these items done tomorrow is very important.
    • B-Medium Priority, You would really like to finish/accomplish these things, but they can wait if you run out of time.
    • C-Lowest Priority, Getting these items done tomorrow is not very important

Double Your Time Estimates

  • Most people underestimate how much time a project, or assignment will take
  • Be REALISTIC
    • Estimate how much time realistically that you think something will take, then double it. More often than not, the doubled estimate is accurate.

Write Down a To Do List

  • This includes class readings, work on papers or problems, errands, exercising, etc.
  • Break the studying down into “review chapters 2-5”, do six practice problems, spend 1 hour collecting research articles. These items are much smaller and easier to start, allowing you to get more things done.

How To Handle Test Anxiety

  • Relax
  • Exercise-this will get rid of your extra energy that can make you tense and nervous
  • Try to describe the anxiety so you can deal with it
  • Guided Imagery, pick a peaceful scene and think about it.

During the Test

  • Read the directions carefully
  • Budget your test-taking time
  • Change positions to help you relax
  • If you go blank, skip the question and go on
    • If you go blank on the whole test, and there is an essay question, start with the essay question. It may get your brain going.
  • Don’t panic when others start handing in their papers.

Test Stress and Self-Talk

  • Self-talk refers to the dialogue that goes on inside your head when faced with conflict or life challenges or even simple day-to-day concerns.
  • Stress is maintained by self-doubts and self-putdowns. The more we entertain such negative thoughts, the more stress we feel.

Negative Self Talk

  • Unfortunately, most of us have been pre-programmed to think negatively the majority of the time.
  • Your inner voice often sets very high standards of performance. This can cause some stress.
  • Some examples are:

How to Overcome Negative Self Talk

  • For 3 days monitor your self talk
  • Keep a list of at least ten negative attacks your inner voice makes and replace them with positive statements
  • Some examples are:

Seek Support

  • Ask for help from your teacher or tutor.
  • Get tutoring in the Academic Resource Complex, room 236
  • Form a study group with classmates

Ask For Help!!

  • It never hurts to ask for help with a class or an assignment.
  • Talk about your stress, let one of the SSS staff members know about your stress and we will help. Besides, talking is a good way to cope.
  • Tutoring, seek academic support to help you study and prepare for a test

Stress Management Strategies

  • Exercise – regular, routine, and aerobic
  • Support system –friends- community involvement
  • Express yourself – talk it over wit family, friends, counselors, and clergy.
  • Eat right-select a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables. Reduce caffeine
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before.

Humor is a Wonderful Stress Reducer

  • It is clinically proven to be effective in combating stress, although the exact mechanism is not known.
  • Experts say a good laugh relaxes tense muscles, speeds more oxygen into your system and lowers your blood pressure.
  • So tune into your favorite sitcom, or watch a funny movie.

Stress Buster

  • Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management. However, all require work toward change: changing the source of stress and/or changing your reaction to it. How do you proceed?

Reasons for Test Anxiety

  • Past test experience
  • Missed classes
  • Did not attend study session
  • Material is difficult
  • Fear of Failure
  • Type of test
  • Notes are missing
  • Have been ill
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Embarrassment
  • Being under prepared
  • Shared text
  • Don’t like the class
  • Did not read the text

How to Handle Test Anxiety

  • Prior to the test, arrive early so you can sit where you are most comfortable and avoid people who are anxious and might cause you to doubt your knowledge. When you receive the test look it over, read the directions twice, and then organize your time efficiently.
  • Engage in deep breathing for 2-5 minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on the air going in and out of your lungs. Take long, deep breaths, fill your lungs and abdomen, hold your breath, and then exhale.

Anticipating Test Anxiety

  • What is it you have to do? Focus on dealig with it.
  • Just take one step at a time.
  • Think about what you can do about it. That’s better than getting anxious.
  • No negative or panicky self-statements; just think rationally.
  • Don’t worry; worrying won’t help anything.

Thank You!!!

  • Student Support Services
  • University of Utah


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