College & Career


College faculty take your questions every month
Kimya Barden (Photo by Joe Davis)

Kimya Barden (Photo by Joe Davis)

By Kimya Barden
Assistant Professor of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies

I suffer from test anxiety. Is that only going to get worse in college? What can I do?

You’re not alone—test anxiety is a major concern for a lot of my students. I encourage my students to approach test anxiety by studying no less than a week before the test (study a few concepts daily for 30 minutes or so), practice some sort of relaxation like deep breathing or meditation, and when appropriate seek professional counseling services for additional support. Finally, be sure to get a good night’s rest before the exam and eat a healthy meal the day of the test.

In your experiences, what works better: studying alone or studying in a group?

I recommend that students engage in a combination of studying alone and in small groups. Studying alone is great way to individually reconnect with the course material without the distractions that may come with group study. Additionally, group study can provide students a great opportunity to engage in problem solving, content clarification and motivation. In my experience, group study works best in groups of two to four students.

I see college as an opportunity to make a bunch of new friends from different backgrounds. How do I go about doing that?

College is a great space for students to expand their social circle! I encourage students to get connected with a purpose in mind. Students should consider joining a club that is totally outside their comfort zone or attend campus events sponsored by other academic disciplines. Volunteering in the multicultural or diversity office is another great way to make friends. Just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.


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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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