Test Anxiety Essay Research Paper Test Anxiety

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Test Anxiety Essay, Research Paper Test Anxiety is a disorder that effects many people. There are many theories and ideas about what actually causes this anxiety. This paper will discuss a few examples and give some solutions to getting around the anxious test feelings. Test anxiety is defined as a special case of specific phobia. It brings on certain phenomenological, physiological, and behavioral responses, which are usually related to fear of failure (Sapp, 183). A specific phobia, is a fear of certain objects or events, such as a fear of heights or enclosed places (Gleitman, A49). Researchers believe that test anxiety begins at a young age in most children. Usually preschool, or whenever a child s performance or personality seems to conflict with what they believe their

parents unrealistic expectations would be (Sapp, 183). When a parent gives negative reinforcement towards a child s work, it will usually lead to some sort of anxiety in the future, in order to not receive that same negative attitude from their parents when performing a similar task. There are two major components of test anxiety, worry and emotionality. Liebert and Morris first conceptualized these two components in 1967. They defined these terms in the following way. Worry is the fear of doing something wrong. The definition of emotionality is in terms of the physiological reactions evoked by evaluative stress (Spielberger, 7). These reactions are feelings of tension, apprehension, and nervousness. When these responses occur while taking an exam, it can usually be classified as

the condition; test anxiety. Another belief about test anxiety is that it is a result of crucial real life consequences for examinees. In a test performed in 1966 by Sarason, it was observed that when 10%of the most anxious students and 10% of the least anxious students of an elementary school were quizzed. The high anxious students were over one year behind national norms in reading and math basic performance. The low anxious students were the opposite, they were one year ahead of the national norm (Zeidner, 5). This proves that anxiety does have an effect on performance. Wine, in 1971 stated that test anxiety is primarily due to the worry cognitions experienced by students during examination (Spielberg, 7). Meaning that their intellectual growth from infancy to adulthood,

contains worry about testing. There are many solutions to solving the problem of test anxiety. I will only discuss three of the possible treatments. In actuality there is a vast array of solutions to this anxiety. The first of these is called coping. Coping eliminates or modifies the conditions that produce stress. It also keeps the emotional consequences within manageable bounds (Zeidner, 307). This theory involves a person s constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage the internal and external demands of the stressful situation, such as the exam (Zeidner, 306). Coping is a linear process involving three major steps. The first of these steps is called primary appraisal. This is the process of perceiving and evaluating a situation as involving threat,

challenge, harm or benefit to one s self . The second step in the linear pattern is something that is called secondary appraisal, meaning, the process of bringing to mind a variety of potential responses to situations appraised to be threatening or challenging . The final step is called specific coping responses (Zeidner, 307). Coping has a buffering effect on stress. It has significant value under moderate to high stressful situations, but in a low stress situation, it will be less effective (Zeidner, 307). Coping effectiveness must be examined in the context in which problems occur; without information about the social context we would only have half the story (Lazarus, 299). Due to the lack of evidence on coping, I am unable to conclude on effectiveness of coping in solving