Continued failure and test anxiety

So another semester begins and I am already failing. I had a microbiology lecture test and lab test, and despite lots of studying beforehand did mediocre on them. I second guessed some questions and ended up changing several right answers to wrong answers. I couldn’t remember many key facts until immediately after the exam was over.

Yesterday I had a genetics test, and during the exam I couldn’t figure out how to do several problems, which were exactly like the homework problems that I did. But after the exam, I was able to sit down and redo the problems again correctly.

I spent the summer working on trying to relax and stay focused during a test, but all that work (including numerous consultations with therapists and learning specialists) does not seem to help.

Also, I kept getting distracted on these tests by all the problems, etc. I wish there was a way to do better on tests.

I don’t like the fact that my grades are based on how well (or not so well) I take tests, and not on what I know or how I can solve problems.

When you decide to take action for test anxiety, my guess is that you will do better on the exams.

I know I do. Without the beta blockers and Concerta, I’d be a wretched mess on exams complete with headaches (migraines), blurry vision, pounding chest, and sweaty hands.

Hope you find some relief soon - test anxiety sucks!

Hi, Nahani. I understand where you are coming from and the frustration that goes with it. Have you gone to your school’s academic/counseling center? I would encourage you to do so. Also, if you haven’t considered it yet, you may want to go to see a psychiatrist as they may have a wider scope of recommendations and treatment options.

Best of luck!

Sounds like test anxiety to me. It’s possible that you may need medication to help you break the cycle.

I’ve been dying to get back on my Lexapro for my anxiety but in the meantime, I can take advantage of special testing accommodations at my schools Disability Resource Center. They allow me to take my exams in a quiet room by myself with double time. It’s not a complete solution, but it does help.

Thanks for all your feedback. I did contact the local Disabled Students Services for accomodations, but they kept putting me off, and at one point had my contact information wrong. Thus, I struggled along for a while (many semesters) before I went back to them to find out why they didn’t contact me. I wonder how much better I would have done had I had these accomodations. Actually, my problem isn’t a time issue: I usually finish a test on time, it’s just that I second guess myself and change right answers to wrong ones. So I need to learn to trust the first answer I put down.

But my next question is, what do I do about all my poor post-bacc grades? Should I stay in post-bacc longer?

You still have test anxiety. Switching answers continually is indicative of that. DS can only offer so much help until you address that specific issue. It may not come in the form of therapists and learning specialists. It may come in the form of pharmaceuticals.

After you figure out how to take tests and can show (to yourself) that you have mastered that aspect, only then should you really take a hard look at what to do about older/poor post-bacc grades.

I don’t believe that compounding your test anxiety by trying to think about what to do about the past is going to help you resolve anything.

Well, I had a microbiology test yesterday, and as usual things didn’t go well. I spent days preparing for it, self-testing and reviewing. I didn’t feel very nervous at all during the test, but I just couldn’t remember all the material I studied.

And kept getting one species or organism mixed up with another organism.

It seems that what I learned was stuck in short-term memory and didnt’ make the transition to long-term memory. How can I effectively and consistently do this, i.e. get information into long-term memory? Repetition and self-testing do not work well for me.

I feel your frustration. I struggle with the same problem. I haven’t found anything that works yet either.

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