Advisor Updates, Wellness Corner

Weekly Wellness: Test Prep

The Weekly Wellness Corner is not a substitution for professional medical or mental health advice. If you are currently seeing someone for your mental and/or physical health, we encourage you to continue following their instructions. If you are looking for a mental health professional to discuss your individual needs, we recommend you reach out to Purdue’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

Advisor Updates

Feeling Like a Burden

Reaching out to others can be difficult when you have been told for most of your life how capable you are—how resourceful, bright, and skilled you are at addressing and solving most problems in your life. Sometimes when you are an accomplished person who has been successful, particularly academically successful, you can begin to believe that you should be able to solve all of the challenges you face on your own. The world may seem to suggest that you should not need others because you have not needed much assistance up to this point. 

The truth is that we all need to depend on others at times and it is honestly a critical skill to know when you need to reach out to others and to take the wise risk of allowing others to share in your struggles.  Sometimes all that means is letting yourself vent to someone else—letting your thoughts and feelings flow freely.  Rather than being a burden to others, you are literally showing them how much you trust them. You are also letting them know that you are willing to reciprocate when the time comes—because we all know that it will.   

More often than not, we consider ourselves to be a burden WAY more than others perceive us to be a burden. In addition to your key family members and friends, please remember that you have many people at Purdue who care about you—including your advisors, faculty members, mentors, etc. You are the farthest from being a burden than you can possibly imagine.  You each matter to us and we have chosen to work in this setting because we find meaning and purpose in encouraging the growth and development of people just like you. 

Heather L. Servaty-Seib, Ph.D., HSPP 

she, her, hers

Professor and Associate Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning 
Office of the Provost, Counseling Psychology, College of Education

Advisor Updates

Test Anxiety

Feeling anxious about taking a test is absolutely understandable. In fact, anxiety is a routine part of any situation that involves the evaluation of our performance. 

Text anxiety involves a number of emotional (e.g., fear, doubt), cognitive (e.g., going blank, thinking “I can’t do this”), and physical (e.g., shortness of breath, sweating) reactions that occur before and during exams.  The key is that these reactions work together in a way that does not allow us to show what we know; our problematic reactions truly block our brains.  

In order to address your individual form of test anxiety, you need to strengthen your self-observation skills. What are your unique emotional, cognitive and physical reactions to exams?  What is your typical learning style (e.g., auditory, visual)? What approaches to studying have worked best for you in the past? 

Answers to such questions will help you to select and experiment with strategies for reducing your text anxiety. It will often take some trial and error to determine your best-fit methods. A couple of my personal favorites included studying in the room where the test is going to take place and, as odd as it may sound, listening to a recording of myself reading my class notes. You just cannot know what will be helpful until you try a variety of strategies.  

One option being offering by Purdue is Test Drive: The Elliot Exam Experience. Watch ASC website for more.

Kick in your curiosity and check out the attached document and the video link below to learn more about strategies for reducing text anxiety.

Text Anxiety: How to Take on Tests Without Stress