Time Limits on Tests

February 28, 2012

Mentoring Minds Student Fear

or test anxiety is fairly common for anyone taking a test. Sometimes students fear they will forget what they know. Others are frightened the test may be too difficult. For whatever reason, test anxiety can prevent students from performing their best. The added pressure of time limits can cause anxiety levels to rise for many students.

When teachers understand what causes test anxiety and follow practical ways for reducing such anxiety, then students will have a better opportunity to achieve their best. Test anxiety contains three key elements: cognitive, affective, and behavioral.

Students who experience test anxiety from the cognitive viewpoint show it through worrying. They doubt their abilities to answer questions because they lack self-confidence. To help these students demonstrate academic success, negative thinking must be minimized and controlled.

From the affective viewpoint, some students (before, during, or after the test) may experience nausea, the need to go to the restroom, the need for a drink of water, or they may literally sweat. Again, these students may worry. They think they will fail and so they might express panic. It may become difficult for these anxious students to concentrate because they are so tense or stressed.

Lastly, students may express anxiety behaviorally. They may procrastinate during the testing situation due to poor study skills and test-taking skills. These students can experience difficulty interpreting information and making meaning of what they see and read. If students do not exercise, do not eat appropriately, or do not sleep enough, they can become overly tired during the test. The recollection of it being a timed test will add to the anxiety and they may express inappropriate emotions.

What can a campus do?

  • Give school-wide practice tests with time limits to students throughout the year.
  • Offer

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