April 2014                     From the Office for First-Year Experience                                        Issue 4

Control Factor

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To feel empowered and relaxed before a college test, the first step is to focus on the things you can control and ignore what you can’t.


  • How effectively the instructor has taught your class in the days before the test.
  • What questions will be asked.
  • How long the test period will last.
  • Unexpected personal crises that disrupt your study time.

Worrying about factors that lie outside your circle of influence is a waste of time and will only distract you. So just acknowledge all these things as part of the process and set them aside.


  • How frequently you attend class.
  • The level of attentiveness you bring to the classroom.
  • The system you use to review your notes in preparation for the test.
  • Whether or not you get tutoring to help you grasp any concepts you find difficult.

These four things are key. As long as you stay on top of them, you should be able to cut your stress levels dramatically.

Scruby, J. (2011). Bedford/St. Martins insider's guide to beating test anxiety. (p. 3). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.

Managing Stress

The power of study groupsAs the end of the semester approaches, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with studying for tests, writing papers, and trying to figure out what you’ll be doing for the summer. Managing your stress level is key to staying calm while taking care of your responsibilities. Here are a few strategies you can adopt to manage your stress level:

  1. Develop a positive mental attitude
    • Learn to relax
    • Take control of your actions and responsibilities
  2. Recognize your major cause(s) of stress
    • Sometimes, stress can be self-inflicted. When you procrastinate in starting an assignment or don’t do your homework when you should, you’re asking to be stressed out later. So, if you’re finding that most of your stress is self-inflicted, change your habits and routines.
  3. Follow a Healthy Physical Routine
    • Improve your sleep by adopting a regular sleep pattern
    • Get some exercise at the HKC! They offer group classes, weightlifting equipment, and aerobics machines
    • Develop good eating habits to get the nutrients your body needs to function well
  4. Reduce Stressors
    • Eliminate procrastination and practice good time management strategies
    • Develop positive relationships

Adapted from Walter, P. (2001). How to study in college. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.