CHICAGO -- Today's teens know well the alphabet soup of high-stakes tests -- the SATs, the ACTs, the APs and the flurry of finals at the end of every semester.
But they might not know about a proven new tactic to ease their anxious nerves on test day and even boost their scores.
A team of University of Chicago psychological scientists found that high school and college students who jotted down their worries for 10 minutes before exam time avoided choking under the pressure. In fact, they performed markedly better.
In a study released Thursday in the journal Science, Sian Beilock and Gerardo Ramirez measured the test anxiety of a class of high school freshmen six weeks before their final exams, tests that would be foundational to the academic transcripts they would ultimately send to colleges. On exam day, they asked half the class to write down their concerns about the upcoming test while other students wrote about an unrelated topic.