RRC removes test anxiety accommodations
Danielle Doiron, Sports & Lifestyle Editor
Exam situations make many people anxious.
Some anxiety can increase motivation and alertness, but too much can interrupt thought processes and lead to panic. When a student experiences anxiety like this, exclusively or primarily in exam situations, it’s known as test anxiety.
Over the summer, Red River College (RRC) announced it would no longer offer exam accommodations like extra time or private writing spaces for students with test anxiety. Prior to this policy change, RRC was the only post-secondary institution in Canada to offer such accommodations, according to Laureen Janzen, the coordinator for RRC’s Counselling and Accessibility Services.
She said this is because while test anxiety can cause headaches, nausea, crying and irritability, it’s not a diagnosed disability.
“Who doesn’t feel nervous before a test?” she asked. “People need to learn skills to manage their anxiety. We don’t want to just give a quick fix that just meets a need regarding a certain test. We want to meet a larger need so that students can build those skills and feel more confident and learn ways to manage anxiety, because anxiety is part of life.”
Starting this September, Counselling and Accessibility Services and the Academic Success Centre will host a series of workshops to help students manage their anxiety and develop studying and test-taking skills.
Janzen said many students used test anxiety accommodations last year. She said she hopes they will attend the workshops, not only to learn these skills, but also to reduce the stigma surrounding counselling.
“We want to normalize getting support,” she said. “It’s something that everybody should feel okay to do. You don’t have to be falling apart to see a counsellor or go to a workshop or a support group. It’s just something you can do to help you be a more holistically healthy person.”
Chad Smith agrees.
As one of the two counsellors at Exchange District Campus, Smith said he still sees a lot of stigma surrounding mental health issues that may prevent students from seeking help.
“All it takes is one negative experience around mental health [to] seriously impact a person’s ability to come forward and disclose or reach out for support,” he said. “However, the ongoing coverage and awareness around mental health and wellbeing will continue to chip away at the stigmatization that happens.”
Smith will help deliver the new workshops and said he often helps students dealing with anxiety in private sessions. He said he advises students with any form of anxiety to research management strategies and speak with a counsellor.
“It starts with first knowing your material and from there learning to overcome the anxiety that impacts your ability to recall and demonstrate your knowledge,” he said. “Test anxiety is something that can be overcome if a student is open to learning and incorporating changes in their studying, test writing approach, sleep, eating and overall health.”
The workshops will run from late September to early December and are open to all RRC students.
TEST ANXIETY: HOW DOES IT IMPACT ME? AND TIPS AND STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING
Tuesday, Sept. 29th – 11:00-12:00 in E108 at NDC
Friday, Oct. 2nd – 11:00-12:00 in P319 at EDC
Monday, Oct. 19th – 12:00-1:00 in E109 at NDC
Monday, Nov. 9th – 3:00-4:00 in W411 at EDC
Thursday, Dec. 10th – 4:00-5:00 in E109 at NDC
TEST ANXIETY: SKILLS FOR MANAGING IT
Tuesday, Oct. 13th – 4:00-5:00 in W210 at EDC
Thursday, Oct. 15th – 4:00-5:00 in E109 at NDC
Wednesday, Nov. 4th – 3:00-4:00 in E109 at NDC
Tuesday, Nov. 24th – 11:00-12:00 in E108 at NDC
Monday, Nov. 30th – 12:00-1:00 in W411 at EDC
STUDY SKILLS: PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT
Monday, Sept. 21st – 12:00-1:00 in E109 at NDC
Friday, Sept. 25th – 12:00-1:00 in P416 at EDC
Thursday, Nov. 12th – 4:00-5:00 in E109 at NDC
Monday, Nov. 16th – 4:00-5:00 in A205 at EDC
Wednesday, Dec. 2nd – 3:00-4:00 in E109 at NDC
TEST TAKING STRATEGIES: WRITE YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
Wednesday, Oct. 7th – 3:00-4:00 in E109 at NDC
Thursday, Oct. 8th – 11:00-12:00 in W411 at EDC
Tuesday, Oct. 27th – 11:00-12:00 in E108 at NDC
Tuesday, Dec. 8th – 3:00-4:00 in P319 at EDC
Monday, Dec. 14th – 12:00-1:00 in E108 at NDC