Counseling Services

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Local. Art by Chris Brockman.

Local. Art by Chris Brockman.

With finals week swiftly approaching, the level of anxiety on campus is rising as students prepare for their exams. Testing anxiety is common among college students, especially near the times of midterms and finals. While this type of anxiety does have a negative effect on students’ performance on their finals, there is a resource on campus to help students deal with testing anxiety.

West Texas A&M University Student Counseling Services offers a wide variety of services to the students of the university, including counseling on how to cope with testing anxiety.

“There are two different kinds of testing anxiety,” Dayna Schertler of Counseling Services said. “One becomes progressively worse and keeps you from accessing information, while the other can be triggered by big tests.”

While it is important to note that small amounts of anxiety can be helpful when taking tests, too much is not and can hinder performance.

“There are three main categories that we focus on when students come to us with testing anxiety,” Nanna Fisher of Counseling Services said. “We focus on preparation, relaxing and positive self-talk. It is helpful to have more time to work with the students, rather than just a week or so.”

It usually takes only two to three sessions for students to master their testing anxiety, but from time to time there are other issues that need to be addressed. If that is the case, then additional sessions can be added to address those problems.

“It is important to remember that testing anxiety is not a mental health issue,” Schertler said. “At least 30 percent of people have at least one anxiety attack in their lives.”

When helping students suffering from testing anxiety, Counseling Services stresses the fact that preparing for exams is the best way to combat testing anxiety. They also work closely with Education Services to offer even more ways to help students, according to Fisher. Fisher also stressed the importance of thinking positive thoughts before an exam.

“Testing anxiety is very treatable,” Shertler said. “Counseling Services can help relieve the students in just a few sessions. We also make sure they know that this is all associated with sleep, eating and health.”

Counseling Services also offers other advice on how to prepare for big exams. They help students develop their own study routine and habits, and also make sure that they know that cramming the night before a big test actually hurts performance rather than helping it.

Counseling Services takes appointments or walk-ins to assist with any students who feel that they need help dealing with testing anxiety, or any other issue. Their office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. tp 5 p.m. and does not close during lunch.