Exam week is just around the corner at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, and the school is trying to help students manage the stress that comes along with testing.

The university held a “De-Stress the Test” workshop at its new campus Tuesday night. The workshop aimed to give students strategies and tips on minimizing the stress during the mad rush of midterms and finals.

“We have students in eight- and 16-week courses, so they have midterms and finals in about a week-and-a-half,” said Ryan Thompson, the university’s assistant director of academic support services. “We wanted to give them some tools to help them prepare.”

Natisha Bishop, a psychology student, has both midterms and final exams coming up for her classes. Like many students, she wanted to learn more about how to effectively manage time for studying.

“For me it’s time management,” Bishop said. “I work, so that is an issue. I also procrastinate until the last minute.”

During his presentation, Thompson gave students advice and tips on effective study habits, taking the test and even what to do after completing a test. Some of those suggestions included creating a realistic study schedule, and not waiting until the last minute to begin reviewing potential test material.

“You want to break up your studying into manageable chunks of time,” he said. “You have to be very smart about how you use your time.”

In addition to getting academic advice, the workshop’s attendees also received tips on de-stressing from the university’s director of counseling services, Ida MacDonald.

“Sometimes the students are stressed about the tests themselves,” said MacDonald. “Other times, it’s other stressful factors in their life and the test is just part of that.”

MacDonald suggested students stay physically active and eat healthy meals before beginning their exams. She also demonstrated breathing and relaxation techniques to help minimize test stress for the students.

Both the academic preparation and the mental aspects are an important part of minimizing the stress of testing, MacDonald said.

“The two go hand in hand. When you are prepared, it makes you more relaxed, and making yourself relax makes you more effective.”

Thompson said Tuesday’s workshop was the second held this year, and he said the university hopes to hold additional sessions before midterms and final exams each semester.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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