Take note! Nervous test takers may be able to improve their test performance with the simple use of paper and pencil.

University of Chicago researchers recently found that people who were worried about math tests improved their scores by writing their anxious thoughts before the test.  In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, researchers randomly assigned 80 undergraduates either to write for seven minutes about their feelings about an upcoming math test or to sit quietly before taking the test.

Participants who wrote about their feelings had similar test scores, regardless of whether they had reported high or low anxiety about math tests before the exam. Among participants who sat quietly, those who reported high math anxiety performed significantly worse than low-anxiety participants on difficult problems, while scores were similar for both groups on easy problems.

If you are feeling nervous before a test, take a moment or two to write down your thoughts and feelings. Our clinical team Georgetown Psychology Associates is dedicated to supporting you in effectively managing anxiety. To learn more, contact us today!