A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Overcoming Test Anxiety Workshop Outline

Bert H. Epstein, Psy.D.
University Counseling and Psychological Services
Oregon State University


Time Required: 80 minutes


Workshop Outline:

I. Wait for Late-Comers - 5 min

II. Preliminaries - 3 min

III. Reflecting on Experience - 7 min

A. Group Discussion - What is Test Anxiety? (list on board)

1. Physical symptoms?

2. Feelings?

3. Actions?

4. Thoughts? (Create long list, as will use this list later)

IV. Assimilating & Conceptualizing

A. Why Do We Have Anxiety? - 5 min

1. Ask class

2. Discussion of evolutionary purpose (fight or flight)

B. Times When Test Anxiety is Good - the Inverted U curve - 2 min

C. How Test Anxiety Arises - the Cognitive Model:

1. Distribute and Review The Cognitive Model of Test Anxiety - 10 min

V. Experimenting and Practicing - 35 min

A. Distribute and Review The Four-Step Model to Reducing Test Anxiety - 5 min

1. Step One - discuss, then have each write in Step One

a. Distribute Common Anxious Thoughts About Tests

b. Each student to circle those that apply to them

c. Then, copy from sheet, board, add to Step One page

2. Step Two- discuss with examples on board, then each writes - 7 min

3. Step Three- discuss with examples on board, then each writes - 7 min

4. Step Four- Relaxation Exercises

a. Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Guided Imagery - 15 min

VI. Planning for Application

A. Distribute The Test-Anxiety Bill of Rights and Test Anxiety References for students to read at home - 2 min

B. "Assign" them to use 4-steps for upcoming studying and exams - 1min

C. Questions & Comments on today's topics - 3 min

VIII. Evaluation - 3 min


Bert H. Epstein, Psy.D. is a psychologist at Oregon State University's Counseling and Psychological Services


Copyright © 2000 Bert H. Epstein. Permission is granted to copy and use this material for educational and non-profit purposes only. This copyright statement and acknowledgement of authorship should remain intact on materials you copy from this website.