Timed tests stressful, shouldn’t have to be

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Test taking in general can be stressful, especially when there’s a time limit.

However, some Dixie State University students and faculty say that by being better prepared, test-taking anxiety can become more manageable. 

According to a study by PsychCentral called “Do Timed Tests Really Measure Math Ability?” timed tests are a way professors keep test taking fair and equal among students. Timed exams assess students’ knowledge by forcing them to act quickly on their feet and prove if they were prepared or not, according to the study.

Jazmin Bybee, a sophomore elementary education major from Layton, said timed tests make it easier for teachers to test a group of students rather than individuals, avoiding the probability of an outlier. 

However, students are still negatively affected by the thought of finishing in time while taking a test, Bybee said.

“[Timed tests] give students anxiety, and they do worse on that test instead of taking their time and thinking the answers through,” Bybee said.  

On the other side of the spectrum, Brooke Marchetti, a freshman dance and biology major from Moreno Valley, California, said when she grows up, reality won’t let her take her time because it’s too demanding.

“In the world that we live in, things need to be done in a time slot,” Marchetti said. “Sometimes we don’t always get all the time we need.” 

Timed tests assess a person’s intelligence by seeing how fast he or she can solve a problem or come up with an answer, according to PsychCentral. 

However, some students at DSU claim the feeling of being rushed and being full of anxiety distracts them.

Certain subjects, like math and biology, are harder for some students to take tests on, said Tyson Nielsen, a junior biology major from Salt Lake City. The questions require more time, and the student has to make sure he or she did all the equations and problems correctly, Nielsen said.

“Students who don’t have the skill of taking a test suffer more than the students who actually gain the skill of test taking,” Nielsen said.  “If you don’t have that skill, your knowledge might not be brought out in your test, and for me personally, I have to work problems over and over until it becomes almost like muscle memory.”

Testing Center Director Tamron Lee said having a time limit on a test is not the main cause of why students stress out.

“We see students stressed about testing regardless of whether there is a time limit,” Lee said. “I think there’s an inherent level of stress when taking an exam, and my recommendation is to be prepared for the test. That’s the No. 1 thing [students] can do to not be stressed.”

As students, we should not fear timed tests but use them as a way to push ourselves. 

If you need more time or would do better in a separate environment, ask your professor. He or she might be willing to provide other opportunities. The Disability Resource Center can also make accommodations for students who have anxiety or other problems that could make testing difficult. 

Preparation is everything, and maybe it’s time we prepared a little more.