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By: Marianne Salina, Academic Advising and Assistance 

There is no shortage of acronyms in university life, and this holds true here at Gonzaga as well. Take for example our office, Academic Advising and Assistance. We aim to support students along their academic journeys; in light of this effort, we may sometimes be likened to the American Automobile Association, our heroic stewards of roadside assistance. We happily embrace the shared acronym, and in many ways the two organizations do in fact share similar work. We should not, however, be confused–particularly if you find yourself with a flat in the middle of the night.

But the acronyms don’t stop there. We here at AAA strive to make the academic path as smooth as possible for students as they tackle the rigors of each term; one of the biggest challenges they face during their careers are the exams along the way. While a test is designed to measure a student’s proficiency with course material, it can also serve as a source of great anxiety for many students. But exams don’t need to be traumatic! In fact, if students observe the three S’s, what we here at AAA like to call the TSA (Triple S Approach), testing anxiety can indeed be relieved.  So, if we may, AAA’s TSA:

  • Study Schedule:  It’s true that slow and steady is a recipe for victory.  In the case of college exams, engaging in consistent, evenly-paced review of course material allows for the content to effectively marinate. Students should set aside time every day to keep up with new reading and to go over older material. Cramming should remain a last resort option only, as it’s often an approach that yields inconsistent results.
  • Strategy:  Exam-taking is an experience that calls on the strength of the mind, body, and spirit.  Our advice to students is to manifest optimum learning conditions for this important work. This means students should locate a quiet, happy space to spread out and dive into their books and notes. Additionally, lots of water, healthy snacks, nutritious meals, and stretching intermittently helps prevent the fog of delirium that comes with too much focus and not enough hydration or fuel. We also suggest short walks outside to maintain circulation and sanity.
  • Sound Sleep:  Yes, of course this is an obvious one, but it’s surprising how many students forego a good night’s sleep in order to get just one more hour of studying under their belts. While we encourage thoroughness, we also cannot emphasize enough the value of resting the mind and body. Studies have shown time and time again just how much work a brain will do over the course of a single night’s sleep. Processing new information, problem solving, and healing the trials of the day are all valuable benefits of sleep. Thus it goes without saying that all-nighters should be avoided at all costs.

There are many ways to conquer test anxiety, but the TSA is our preferred method. Students are always welcome and are very much encouraged to stop by our office for additional ideas and suggestions.  Conveniently located in College Hall 104, AAA is there when you need us.

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