The short answer: it depends on the situation.
Tests, class presentations, and athletic competitions are just a few of the anxiety-provoking situations that students face on a regular basis.
While much research has demonstrated the negative effects of stress on performance, savvy students can avoid these difficulties.
Research at the University of Chicago provides situation-dependent advice for dealing with stress.
- When taking a test, a belief that you will do well is the best way to cope with the innate stress of the experience. In fact, test-related stress can even improve your “typical” performance if you are confident. If you lack confidence, writing about your stress right before the test can improve your performance.
- When performing in a public arena—e.g., giving a class presentations or performing in a sporting event—the best way to deal with stress is to distract yourself before you start.
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