Science faculty and the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) are collaborating this fall to help first-year students deal with exam panic through a three-part workshop, “How to prevent a panic attack on your first college science exam.”
Michael Shuman, interim director, and Shelly Cardi, staff psychologist, of LAC, as well as Pat Lord, director of Health Professions Program and associate teaching professor of biology, and David Wren, assistant teaching professor and director of the Chemistry Center, have planned the workshops to help first-year students prepare for their first college science exam.
Wren described the LAC as the “emergency department” for students where triage takes place to help deal with test anxiety. He and his colleagues believe a pre-emptive strike like these workshops will be more effective in the long run.
“All of us have had experience with students not knowing how to study, how to prepare, how to take the exam – and not panic – or how to analyze how they performed,” said Lord. “We’ve got some amazing things planned to help our students learn and do their best and we guarantee they will learn at least one technique that will help them improve their study skills.”
More than 100 students signed up to attend. The first workshop was held Sept. 8 and focused on preparing for the exam. Shuman talked with students about the science of learning and offered active study strategies while Cardi focused on tips to reduce anxiety.
The second workshop on Sept. 15 will focus on taking the exam and tips to prepare while the final workshop on Sept. 29 will help them analyze their performance and what to do now that they know their grade, especially if they don’t perform as well as they hoped.
During that session, upperclass students are coming to share their experiences about being nervous and panicking. They will also discuss their failures and what they did to over come that initial failure.
“I know at a lot of schools people talk about certain courses as ‘weed out’ courses,” Lord said. “I don’t think any of us faculty think that here at Wake – we want every student to be successful.”