Test Anxiety and Study Habits

Test Anxiety and Study Habits
The time leading up to your test can often be very stressful and anxiety inducing. Being in a high-pressured situation can actually deplete or take away from your working memory and reduce your academic performance.

We call this choking.

Choking is not exclusive to kids/students, but is also experienced by adults. This form of anxiety is seen everywhere and in everyday life, but lets just focus on academia.

It is not unusual for students to feel anxious about school, sitting a test or even having to do a presentation. The issue now is what can we do to help reduce our academic anxiety? Here are my favourite tips to dealing with academic anxiety:

  • Practicing positive study habits and staying organized
    • Make use of study tools.
    • No crash studying.
    • Review your material often.
    • Use a bullet journal or an agenda to help stay on course.
  • Practice self-care
    • Go for walks in your community with a friend, your parents or take the family dog for a walk.
    • Exercise.
    • Have a well balance diet and get enough sleep.
  • Talk about your worries with someone
    • Talking about stressful situations can help put things into perspective and help to find solutions.
  • Write about it
    • Writing about your worries can help to reduce mental distress and improve your overall wellbeing.
    • Bonus writing about positive feelings, such as things in your life that you are grateful for or proud of can also help to reduce anxiety and depression.

Test Anxiety and Study Habits
To try and decrease the stress and anxiety that we feel before upcoming tests, it helps to feel prepared and organized. As mentioned above, leaving studying to the last minute is not the most ideal way to do this. There are some great ways that we can spend the semester/octomester preparing for upcoming tests, evaluations, and culminating projects. Here are a few great options to try:

  • Create an ideal study environment
    • This will look different for everyone based on their learning styles and strengths. Some will need a clear work surface with no distractions and a checklist, others may thrive with a laptop on the couch and music in the background. Know what works well for you, and create that environment when you need to study.
  • Maintain lists
    • It’s important to have a to-do list that you can see in order to prioritize your assignments, activities, and study time. It’s also very satisfying to be able to cross off those items!
    • It can also be helpful to keep a separate list of things that occupy your mind while you are trying to study. These can be worries that pop up, or other things that you want or need to do. Keeping a blank piece of paper beside you (or a separate app/tab on the computer) allows you to notice these thoughts, track them, continue studying, and return to these thoughts later. 
  • Review materials
    • Studying doesn’t just mean re-reading slideshows or re-writing notes. Teachers at the Academy preset their information in multiple ways to cater to all learning styles. 
    • You can re-read or re-write if that works for you, but you can also review additional resources provided by your teachers, watch the lesson again if it was an online recorded lesson, answer bonus questions, or even create your own questions!
  • Focus on Main Ideas
    • If a word, topic, or subject is mentioned more than once, that implies importance! Pay attention to to the themes that repeat and try to further your understanding in those areas. 
  • Note Taking
    • If you are taking notes in class or while watching a video, try to keep the notes brief. You want to be able to communicate your thoughts without missing more content.
    • Use short sentences and abbreviations rather than whole sentences.

Test Anxiety and Study Habits
There isn’t one method that will work well for everyone, and the methods that work for you may change as you get older. Try different techniques and see what works best for you. You can read some more Study Habits tips and tricks here. If you ever have any questions about how to study, where to access more resources, or discuss any test anxiety you are having, remember you can reach out to your teachers, support staff, and the guidance counsellor.

Written by:
Brydie Smith – Educational Assistant
Jamie Banton – Student Life Counsellor

Middle School: Reflecting on Fantasy Stories

It is important for students to pause and celebrate their successes – big and small! Particularly, during these weird and sometimes bleak times, we need to encourage students to see their triumphs and accomplishments. Recently, the middle schoolers finished writing their fantasy stories and we took time to reflect and celebrate their hard work. It took the class several weeks to complete the whole writing process – brainstorming, planning, drafting, revising, and editing. During our writing celebration students got to share their stories like real world authors would during a book release. By the end of the unit the students felt incredibly accomplished and proud of themselves! Way to go middle schoolers!

Dumplings, Risotto, Eggs…you want it we made it!

Cooking Club has been great, still continuing during the pandemic. I have been going to cooking club for the last 5 years and I am still participating virtually, talking to my peers and learning cooking techniques with Katie every Wednesday online. I believe that this club is really important because we will need to know these skills for when we go to college, or university or at a job. It’s also nicely social as we connect with the same people and meet new ones. This year we have made muffins, dumplings, quesadillas, risotto, egg foods, cookies and three sister stew. It used to be vegetarian back when we went to school without masks or covid 19 protocols but now Katie has made an exception because it’s virtual. For the new students who are thinking about joining cooking club, it’s not too late to sign up for action packed recipes and excitement.

-Cole Warner

What’s Cooking?

Cooking Club started off the new year by making simple, but satisfying smoothies. After all the holiday treats and big meals it was nice to make something packed full of healthy fruits and vegetables. As this was a fairly easy snack to prepare we had lots of time to catch up on our winter break activities and also discuss what recipes to make in the coming weeks. We have a long list of interesting ideas to choose from with some old favourites and new challenges.

Over the last few weeks we have made some really tasty meals. We created loaded nachos,
homemade pizzas, and stir-fries. Each student used their favourite ingredients to customize the meal for themselves and their families. These versatile recipes are great to meet the diverse tastes of our students and also allows them to use whatever they have on hand, which is a good skill and especially important during the pandemic.

We hope to be able to cook together in person once again, but for now our virtual Cooking Club gives us the opportunity to share our love of food with each other and socialize with our friends.

Fostering Relationships in a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for us over the last 10 months, with one of the most significant challenges being our limited social interactions and lost time with loved ones. This has had a ripple effect into our school, with students not being able to fully embrace the social components of being in the classroom. As a school, we try to support all aspects of student wellbeing, including their social health, which is why we have taken the extra step to create some (safe) opportunities to socialize!

Before the winter break, our Student Life Counsellor, Jamie, and our Educational Assistant, Brydie, played a friendly – socially distanced and masked – game of Basketball with two of our highschoolers. There was a lot at stake; the losers had to bake for the winners. Needless to say, Jamie and Brydie spent the following weekend baking! Unfortunately the stay-at-home order meant that they couldn’t plan anymore basketball games in the foreseeable future…but it gives them a chance to practice for the next one!

Since moving online after the break, our Middle Schoolers have expressed their struggles with the switching back to virtual learning, after being on-site and in-person since September 2020. Acknowledging this drastic switch and second loss of social interaction, we started a weekly after school “Hangout” where the Middle School students can have some supervised non-academic fun! Our first week was spent creating communal rules to ensure a safe space, then starting our comic books by designing our avatars and making a 3-page comic on what we would be doing if we had unlimited freedom! Our participants didn’t hesitate to get creative, become the President of the United States, and soar into space!

With the end of Octo 4 fast approaching and the extended remote learning announcement, we look forward to having something fun planned for the High Schoolers to interact with one another soon… watch this space!