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The write stuff for test anxiety

Students score higher after jotting down worries before a big exam

By
2:24pm, January 13, 2011

High school and college students go from choking to smoking on big tests by writing about their exam fears beforehand, a new study suggests.

In what amounts to a Heimlich maneuver for choking under pressure, writing down test-related worries for 10 minutes before taking a major exam appears to dislodge those concerns and clear the way for higher achievement, say psychologists Gerardo Ramirez and Sian Beilock, both of the University of Chicago.

Writing about unspoken fears of failure and related anxieties lets students reevaluate such concerns and keep them at bay during a test, Ramirez and Beilock propose in the Jan. 14 Science.

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