Placement Testing Tips

Tips for reducing test anxiety

  • Does the thought of taking tests fill you with fear and dread?
  • Does thinking about exams cause your palms to sweat and your heart to race?
  • Perhaps you suffer from Test Anxiety

Most students experience some anxiety related to exams. Mild anxiety may serve to motivate individuals to put forth their best efforts. But when anxiety becomes too intense, it may interfere with a student's ability to perform effectively in testing situations. Whether you experience anxiety across all test situations or your concerns are limited to one specific subject, you may find the following information useful. These basic instructions have helped many of your fellow students master their fears and become more effective test takers.

First. Breathe!

Sounds too simple to be true, but taking a few deep breaths can have a significant impact on your body's level of physiological arousal. How does your body typically feel when you are in a test situation? Common anxiety symptoms include dry mouth, sweating, trembling, nausea, muscle tension, pounding heart, concentration problems, and breathing difficulties. Your body is reacting as if you are in serious physical danger.

Recognition of these symptoms can trigger a wave of secondary anxiety or nervousness about being nervous.

What's a student to do? Just breathe.

Second. Use self-talk to help you cope with the situation.

What are you telling yourself about the exam? Unfortunately, if you experience test anxiety you are probably subjecting yourself to a variety of negative thoughts or self-talk. Do the following statements sound familiar?

  • "Everyone else is smarter than me."
  • "I can't remember anythingli>
  • "I don't know question two. I'm going to fail."
  • "I'm running out of time!"

How do you feel when you read these statements? These extreme or catastrophic thoughts can actually trigger physiological anxiety reactions. Negative self-talk is a bad habit. Like other bad habits it can be changed.

Finally. Stop avoiding and start now.

It's human nature to avoid things that make us feel very anxious. If tests make us anxious, we try to avoid tests. (This is quite difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish if you are a student). Our anxiety tends to generalize, so we avoid or procrastinate either studying for exams or scheduling to take tests. Unfortunately, the more successfully we avoid the test, the less experience we have with our object of fear. Exposure and experience can help us conquer our fears. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. Building self-confidence is a gradual process. The building blocks of self-confidence are experiences.

Placement tests

As a new student, you will be required to take placement tests (assessments). These assessments evaluate the best course for you to begin in reference to English, reading, mathematics, computer skills and foreign language (if needed for your chosen major). Based on the placement assessments, courses will be assigned for you to help ensure you have the proper academic foundations necessary to be successful in your chosen field of study and in college course work in general.

The placement tests for English, reading and mathematics are completed using the computer program Accuplacer from the nationally recognized testing service College Board. Access to sample practice questions can be found on the College Board website. Although these questions will not be the same ones asked when you attend New Student Orientation, they are similar to the type of questions to expect.

The computer skills and foreign-language assessments are written tests created by FDU academic departments to best evaluate your beginning point and course sequencing.

  • The computer-skills assessment is a self-identifying evaluation of your computer skills.
  • The foreign-language assessments (in Spanish, Italian and French) review the level of understanding for vocabulary, verb conjugation and reading comprehension in a particular language. You may choose to take a different foreign language than the one you have previously taken (available languages at the elementary level include: Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic, and Chinese) or culture courses. If you choose a different foreign language or culture course, no assessment is necessary.

If you have any questions about the placement tests, please visit the Academic Resource Center website or call 201-692-2076.