Managing Medical School Test Anxiety

Managing Medical
School Test Anxiety
Amanda R. Lorenz, PhD
Office of Applied Psychological Services
University of Illinois at Chicago
Identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety
Learn tips and techniques to minimize test
Develop a plan that maximizes test
performance and success in medical school
(and beyond…)
on getting into medical school!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
(Aaron Beck, MD)
Be nice to yourself
Challenge Your Cognitive Distortions
 Recognize the distortions
 Challenge them
 Consider the alternatives
 Examine the evidence
 Is this thought helping me
 Reference group (what
would others think or do?
What would I tell a friend?)
 Replace distortions with
positive self-talk
 I have accomplished a
lot already
 I am smart and I can do
 I belong here
 I am prepared for this
 It is only one test
The Power of Writing
Ramirez & Beilock (2014) & Nelson & Knight
Writing for a few minutes prior tests increased
self-efficacy and test performance!
Be a
Role Model
for your
Increase Positive Experiences
With Others
Successful Study Skills
Spaced (not massed) Learning
Elaboration and variation and elaboration(!)
Organize the Material
Ask Questions
Use Mnemonics
Tips for the Day of the Test
Sleep & Eat well
Use Coping Skills
Don't worry about other students finishing the
test before you do
Concentrate on your own test
Stay focused on the questions
Tips for Multiple Choice Questions
 Read the question and circle or underline any key words
 Try to answer a question before looking at the choices
 If your answer is there, that’s a good sign!
 Eliminate wrong answers
 Mark questions that you can’t answer & continue
working. Then, return to skipped questions, even if it is
simply to mark a guess.
 Pace Yourself
 Do not change your answers
WARNING! Depression and Burn-out!
Helplessness and Hopelessness
Sadness and Irritability
Changes in Sleep
Changes in Appetite
 Faculty Advisors
 Office of Student Affairs Advisor
 (312) 996-2450
 UIC Counseling Center
 (312) 996-3490
 Office of Applied Psychological Services at UIC
 (312) 996-2540
 Amanda Lorenz, PhD, at 312-413-2636 or [email protected]
 Personal Physician