On university campuses across the United States and Canada, students are gearing up to clear the last hurdle before winter break: final exams.
Test anxiety can push students to do desperate things, like attempt to steal the exam, or try to memorize a semester's worth of knowledge in a single night, Michael Baumann writes for University Affairs.
The pressure surrounding final exams, papers, and presentations can hurt student performance—and ultimately become a barrier to graduation. For many students, test anxiety can lead them to flood counseling centers and faculty office hours—or worse, turn to drugs to boost their concentration, warns Baumann, the career center director at University of the Fraser Valley.
The soul of student success
According to Baumann, a crammed exam schedule is one overlooked culprit that drives student stress to a fever pitch.
One way administrators can alleviate exam stress is to rethink the final exam schedule, he argues. Instead of cramming tests into a two-week period, administrators can offer multiple exam dates for each course, so students can choose the date that works best for them, he recommends (Baumann, University Affairs, 11/1).
Related: The false tradeoff between academic rigor and course pass rates
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