Everyone should feel some level of anxiety on test day. However, anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes with your ability to think and recall information. Test anxiety can create both physical and mental symptoms. Below are some strategies in managing test anxiety on the day of an exam.


Negative Self-Talk Positive Self-Talk
“I’ll never get finished.” “Just take it one step at a time.”
“If I miss this, I’ve really blown it.” “Some tension is inevitable; no need to worry about it.”
“Why am I so nervous? I hate feeling like this. I know I’m going to fail.” “I studied and I am confident I will do my best.”
“Everyone else is doing better than me.” “I’m doing fine. I am only concerned about myself.”
“If I fail this test, my life will fall apart.” “Even if I don’t do as well as I’d like, it’s not the end of the world.”
“Oh no! I studied this one but my mind is just going blank!” “I’ll skip this question and go on to some easier ones. I’ll come back to it later.”
“I know I missed the last answer. I should have gotten it!” “Even if I miss a few questions, that doesn’t bother me. I can still get a good grade.”



Deep breathing is one of the simplest techniques you can use to reduce anxiety before, during, and after a test. Breathing provides you with the oxygen necessary to think clearly and releases physical tension at the same time.

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Breath through your nose. Breathe in deeply into your abdomen. Pause before you exhale.
  3. Breathe out from your abdomen slowly.
  4. Use each inhalation as a moment to become aware of any tension in your body. Use each exhalation as an opportunity to let go of tension.
  5. Repeat once, then return to the test.



  • Let yourself stay with that scene for a few moments
  • Once you feel relaxed, imagine going in for your test.
  • Imagine yourself calmly sitting down, waiting to begin test. As you begin the test, you say to yourself “I am prepared. Relax. Concentrate.” You start the test and read the directions, planning your time carefully. You read and answer the first question…


  • Think about something melting when you want to relax. “Melting” evokes many images:
  • snow melting in the sun
  • a flame melting candle wax
  • marshmallow melting in hot chocolate
  • butter melting in a pan
  • chocolate chips melting in cookies


The relaxation procedure involves systematically tensing and then relaxing different groups of muscles in your body:

  • Begin the procedure by either sitting in a comfortable chair or lying down. Move your arms toward the center of your body and bend both arms at the elbow. Tighten your hands into fists and simultaneously tense the muscles in your upper arms and shoulders. Hold for ten seconds and then relax for fifteen to twenty seconds.
  • Tense your face muscles by wrinkling your forehead and cheek muscles. Hold for ten seconds then relax.
  • Tense the muscles in your chest for fifteen seconds and then relax. Repeat this procedure for all the different parts of your body while telling yourself that you are becoming more and more relaxed. Pay particular attention to the muscles in your neck and back since these muscles become tense easily.


Avoid people or situations that create anxiety.

  • Pay attention to the time allotted for the test, but avoid excessive clock–watching
  • Be sure you are settled in and relaxed prior to your test.
  • Avoid food or drinks that are stimulants and increase “jitters.”
  • Avoid talking about your test grade with others if this increases your anxiety. If you feel uncomfortable with being asked “How did you do”, respond with “I did as well as I expected.” or “I’d rather not talk about my grades.”
Butte College Center for Academic Success
Utah State University Academic Success Center
University of Alabama Center for Academic Success

Looking for additional resources for a math or science course you are currently enrolled in, or need to review to get yourself prepared for the next course in a sequence? Below are some helpful online tutorials.

http://www.uwlax.edu/mathmooc/ (Links to an external site.) (free course, organized to be completed in 7 weeks)
• http://bit.ly/calculucs-help-visual-learners (Links to an external site.) (calculus help for visual learners; many links)
http://www.khanacademy.org/ (Links to an external site.) (select topics from menu)
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/#mathematics  (Links to an external site.)
https://www.wolframalpha.com/ (Links to an external site.) (Computational Knowledge Engine)
http://archives.math.utk.edu/visual.calculus/ (Links to an external site.)
http://www.wtamu.edu/academic/anns/mps/math/mathlab/ (Links to an external site.)
http://www.tcc.edu/VML/ (Links to an external site.)
http://www.montereyinstitute.org/nroc/nrocdemos.html (Links to an external site.)

http://www.khanacademy.org/ (Links to an external site.) (select topics from menu)
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/#chemistry (Links to an external site.)
http://www.chemreview.net/download_instructions.htm (Links to an external site.)
http://www.webqc.org/chemicaltools.php (Links to an external site.)

http://www.khanacademy.org/ (Links to an external site.) (select topics from menu)
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/#physics (Links to an external site.)
http://www.learner.org(Links to an external site.) (search for ‘mechanical universe’)

http://www.khanacademy.org/ (Links to an external site.) (select topics from menu)
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/#mathematics (Links to an external site.) (ctrl+f and enter ‘statistics’ in search box to find entries on page)
http://www.montereyinstitute.org/courses/Statistics%20for%20Social%20Sciences/nroc%20prototype%20files/coursestartc.html (Links to an external site.)
http://www.une.edu.au/WebStat/unit_materials/index.htm (Links to an external site.)

General Purpose Apps

For note-taking, research, creating to-dos, lists and attaching images, and PDF’s. Instantly synchronizes from computer to smartphone, tablet and the web. iOS and Android compatible.
Dropbox Free service that lets you store your photos, docs, and videos in the cloud and share them easily. Synchronizes from computer to smartphone, tablet and the web. iOS and Android compatible.
Awesome Note Note-taking application and to-do manager that allow you to combine notes with to-do flexibility. iOS and GalaxyNote compatible.
Checklist to full-blown project management. A task manager app that lets you focus on what’s important. iOS and Android compatible.
Task manager app modeled after the GTD (“Get Things Done”) method of project management. iOS and Android compatible.
myHomework Digital student planner that lets you easily track your classes, homework, tests and projects. myHomework is available on multiple platforms, so you can always know what’s due wherever you are. You can find the myHomework app on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire and the Web.

Apps by Various Topics

Magical Pad Note-Taking and Task Manager app that enables you to quickly take notes, capture ideas, doodle and manage lists and to-dos. iOS compatibility only.
Inspiration App for mind maps and graphic organizers to help you: brainstorm and visualize ideas with maps and diagrams; organize thoughts and information; make sense of complex concepts and projects. iOS compatibility only.
SimpleMind Mind mapping tool that turns your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device. iOS compatibility only.

Mapping tool allows users several advanced features to diagram information and use it for collaborative aspects project management, report writing, and just brainstorming.
Handwritten Notes    
Pennultimate Handwriting app for iPad that combines the natural experience of pen and paper with the flexibility and syncing of Evernote. Take notes, keep sketches, or share your ideas from anywhere. iOS compatibility only.
Note-Taking app that allows you to jot down whatever comes to mind, just like an ordinary pen and paper. Write with finger, stylus or smart pen. Easily allows for exporting to Evernote, Dropbox, Twitter and Facebook. iOS compatibility only.
Notesplus Note-Taking app that allows you to type, draw or record notes. Import and annotate and highlight on PDF’s. Easily allows for exporting to various outlets. iOS compatibility only.
Notability Note-Taking app that allows you to create, illustrate, outline, annotate, record, capture photos. Automatic cloud synchronizing to iPhone and iPad. iOS compatibility only.
Annotations & Readers
iAnnotate PDF PDF document reader that allows for reading, annotating and sharing PDF documents, Word/PowerPoint files and images. iOS and Android compatible.
GoodReader Document reader that allows you to read virtually anything, anywhere: books, movies, pictures. Easily annotate, manage, transfer, and sync files. iOS compatibility only.
Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF document reader app that allows for reading and annotating PDF’s across various platforms. iOS and Android compatible.
PDF Expert PDF Expert is a professional PDF viewer and annotation tool for iPhone/iPod Touch. Read and annotate PDF documents, highlight text, and annotate. Sync with Dropbox. Copy files from Mac and PC. PDF Expert is a professional PDF viewer and annotation tool for iPhone/iPod Touch. iOS compatibility only.
Browzine A tablet application that allows you to browse, read and monitor many of the library’s scholarly journals in a format optimized for iPad and Android tablets. The selected articles can be can easily be synced with Zotero, Dropbox, RefWorks.

Note: Browzine is available for free through Penn Libraries to all current students, faculty, and staff. Works on Tablet devices: iPad, Android.

Apps for for Managing Articles, References and Digital Annotations

Mendeley A digital manager that organizes references, research, and enables collaborative discovery of the latest research. Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.
ProQuest Allows users to create personal bibliographic citation database using this web-based bibliographic management tool.
Zotero Allows users to organize online resources, bibliographies, blog posts and PDFs. This way, users can organize all the searched web content in one place and keep track of what information has been located, and then, find it again easily.
Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Apps for STEM courses

Wolfram Alpha A free open source tool, allows users to submit mathematical and computation queries through a text field. Wolfram Alpha computes answers to user queries and displays relevant visualizations that make the answers easy to comprehend and apply to other problems of similar nature.
Khan Academy A free educational resource that offers video tutorials on a wide range of subjects including: mathematics, history, physics, general and organic chemistry, micro and macroeconomics. Khan Academy allows users to develop a personalized dashboard to tag favorites and most commonly used tutorials.
Molecular Workbench A free open source portal that allows users to launch and customize concepts at atomic and molecular levels in physics, chemistry, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

If you have found an app that works best for you, please share it and we will add it to our collection.

I recently came across an article from Success.com that discussed the the habits and common traits of successful individuals and wanted to share it in the Student Success blog. Although many of the examples are from the corporate world, there is a direct correlation to Student Success.

According to Casey Imafidon, here are 10 things successful people do daily…

1. They strive for consistency. 

Successful people are focused on meeting their objectives and this is why they have a consistent schedule. According to Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, having a consistent schedule aids prioritization and allows you to keep the important tasks at the top of your list.

2. They set daily goals.

Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a detailed plan for his day by writing down three things he wants to accomplish the next day. Successful people are clear about their goals and having a list to propel them to meeting these goals sets them apart.

3. They nurture the right relationships.

In his book Tribes, Seth Godin explains there are tribes everywhere hungry for connection, meaning and change. Successful people look for support and find people they can connect with intellectually. Find your tribe and collaborate, play off each other’s strengths and watch everyone grow. Jim Rohn says you are the average of your five closest friends. Who are yours?

4. They display high emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent people constantly look for ways to add value and contribute to their environment. They use their emotional awareness to think progressively and find answers to problems. This quality helps them to inspire others to be successful, too. According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

5. They take action.

Successful people take action. Nothing is solved when you let the feeling of overwhelm set you back. Through actions you can attain results and discover a path toward your goals.

6. They practice positive self-talk.

When you use phrases like, Today is going to be a great day or I am successful, you boost your intellectual ability and improve your chances of attaining your goals for the day.

7. They stay healthy.

President Barack Obama exercises 45 minutes per day, six days a week. A healthy mind and body is the first step to success. Your body is a vehicle to everything you achieve. Such physical activity doesn’t only keep the body physically healthy; it also improves one’s mental state.

8. They meditate.

Meditation allows you to focus and be more productive. Oprah Winfrey speaks about the great benefits of meditation and how the results have included better relationships and being more creative.

9. They act on small improvements toward their major goals.

According to Henry Ford, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.” Successful people apply the domino effect toward their ambitions by making small and continuous improvements every day.

10. They wake up early.

From Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, to Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, waking up early seems to be the tradition of successful people. So much can be done within those wee hours of the day that is much harder to accomplish when distractions, meetings and environmental noise are added.

In the end, it takes consistent practice to be successful. Success doesn’t happen by accident, but because you have committed yourself to certain activities, that will help you reach your goals.

By Bethany Ulman, Ecampus success counselor

Summer is the time for hot weather and fun in the sun. It can also be a stMaintaining-your-cool-Ecampus-newsrestful time for students balancing work and school, plus wanting to spend time with friends and family who might have more free time over the summer. Below are a few tips for keeping your cool while maintaining your work-life balance over the summer.

  1. Plan time to spend with kids, family and friends – Summer is the time when kids are out of school and families are able to take vacations. Make it a priority to spend time with friends and family, just make sure you plan ahead! Planning out vacation time and weekend trips before starting the summer term will help you manage your time. “When planning your vacation, check the internet connection at your destination,” Ecampus Success Counselor Amy Riley recommends. “Also, it’s a good idea to bring hard copies of syllabi, assignment instructions and online readings, just in case.” Planning ahead will reduce stress and allow you to enjoy your vacation.
  1. Set limits – While you are arranging a vacation, take an extra step and plan out your study, work and family time. Set limits on each so that you can be fully present in the moment. Having a weekly schedule can help you make sure you are dedicating the necessary time to studying, but also to your family and friends.
  1. Learn to kindly say “no” – Summer barbecues, parties and outdoor activities may compete with your study schedule. In order to maintain your balance, it is perfectly acceptable to politely say “no.” Others will be impressed by your ability to be honest and intentional about your time. Prioritize activities that are meaningful and rejuvenating for you. By respectively saying “no,” you are allowing yourself to enjoy and focus on what truly matters.
  1. Build your support system – Summer is a great time to reconnect with old friends or make new connections. It is also a perfect time to build up your support system to help you keep your momentum going into fall term. Reach out to a fellow student, start a class Facebook group or set up an appointment to meet with an instructor you would like to get to know better or who might be helpful throughout your program. As a distance student, creating strong connections can enhance your overall experience and enable you to get the most out of your learning. It will also make finishing your degree that much easier.
  1. Summer goes by quickly; now is the time to gear up for fall – Whether you are taking courses or not, summer will fly by. Now is the time to start preparing for fall term. Kyle Whitehouse, the Ecampus assistant director of learner services, recommends these steps to help you achieve a powerful start:
  • If you need to do so, make an additional appointment with your advisor to map out a plan for the upcoming year.
  • Secure your class schedule early, and add your name to wait lists, if necessary.
  • Be sure to check your email regularly for any changes or notices related to fall term.
  • Purchase required texts and materials as soon as possible so there is no delay in being prepared.
  • Set a calendar reminder to prompt you to familiarize yourself with your fall course sites on Canvas, and review your syllabi as early as the week before the new term.

Summer is a great time to refresh. Look back on all that you have accomplished over the past year – in your career, in school and in your personal life. Give yourself a pat on the back. Use those strategies that helped you this past year and figure out where you can improve in the future.

If you’d like more strategies or help with planning for the summer or fall, let us know. The Ecampus success team is here to help! You can set up an appointment, check out our blog or browse our Pinterest page for more tips. You can also connect with other Ecampus students on the new Student Group LinkedIn page.

Everyone experiences varying levels of stress during major exams. The key to performing well during your exam is your ability to manage the stress that exams bring. Here are a few techniques to deal with exam stress which will allow you to optimize your performance during your exam.walk-before-exam (1)

  • EXERCISE: Just prior to a major exam, many students feel time spent reading their books and reviewing notes is the best use of their time. However, research has shown that exercise just prior to your exam can boost memory and brain power. A study conducted by Dr. Chuck Hillman, at the University of Illinois, demonstrated the positive effect a 20 minute walk has on the brain.
  • SLEEP: Although you feel you need to keep studying for hours into the night, research indicates that sleep and being well rested are key to success. Sleep allows your brain to take information and move it from short term memory to long term memory. This process will increase your ability to recall information during your exam.
  • CHOCOLATE: I don’t know anyone who would turn down an opportunity to eat chocolate. Cocoa that is found in chocolate fights the stress hormone cortisol and creates a sense of relaxation. Chocolate also releases endorphins which are natural stress fighters. Dark chocolate, which contains 70% cocoa, maximizes the positive results of having chocolate during your exams.
  • BREAKS: Your brain becomes fatigued while studying for long periods of time. After 60-90 minutes, continuous studying becomes less effective. The 50/10 rule creates a plan where you study for the first 50 minutes of the hour and take a break for the last 10 minutes. While taking a break, get away and do something different and get your mind off of studying. An excellent way to use your break is to exercise, which allows you to clear your mind and increase your concentration level when you return.
  • VISUALIZE: You have done all you can do in your preparation for your exam. It is now time to build your confidence on test day. Imagine yourself taking the test, seeing all the questions, knowing the answers and feel how relaxed you are as you are taking the test.  Be sure to eliminate negative self-talk and take negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones by creating a picture of success…”I am prepared” “I can handle this”.

There is no way around the stress that comes with final exams. The best thing you can do is to learn how to manage it and minimize its negative effects which allow you to perform at an optimal level.

It’s the start of a new term.  New classes.  New textbooks. New professors and New expectations.

One way to set yourself up for success is to identify the important due dates listed on your course syllabi and gather them together on a “Term at a Glance” worksheet.  This tool lets you see the weeks you’ll have a lot going on quickly, by showing all your exams and major assignments for ALL your classes on a single sheet of paper.

Follow these steps to create your own Term at a Glance tool.

1.  Download the Term at Glance worksheet from the OSU Learning Corner’s page about term-long planning.

2.  Gather all the syllabi for your courses this term.

3.  Read through one syllabus from beginning to end Every time you see a due date or exam date transfer it to your Term at a Glance worksheet.  Note that often professors won’t list a specific calendar date, it might say “Tuesday of Week 4” or something similar.

4.  Double check that you have all exams and major assignments listed.

5. Repeat steps 3-4 for each course.  You may chose to use a different color ink or indicate each course in some other way.

Now look at the whole termTerm at a glance example

  • Is it fairly balanced from week to week?
  • Do you have any weeks that are empty?(a great time to schedule project work or extra studying)
  • Are any weeks very full? (may require planning ahead!)



You can use your Term at a Glance as a starting point to more detailed planning and organization if desired.  Check out this information about organization and time management for more ideas and resources.

How often do you highlight, underline, or write in your textbooks?


If you’ve ever purchased a used book that was (generously) highlighted by its previous owner, you may think of marking up textbooks as distracting or annoying.  However, when done properly marking up a textbook (also known as annotation) can be an effective active reading technique, and reviewing annotations you created while reading is a great study tool.

Image from: http://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/how-to-use-a-textbook-6-rules-to-follow/
Image from: http://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/how-to-use-a-textbook-6-rules-to-follow/

How to annotate in 5 easy steps.

1) choose a section of the textbook to read actively (also known as ‘close reading’) – if you’ve been assigned a full chapter, focus on a smaller section.

2) look at any headings, titles or other emphasized words and ask yourself what you think the section is going to teach you.  For example, if you were annotating this blog post you might look at the title and ask “what is annotation?” or “how would I use annotation to study?” You may choose to write this question in the margin or near the heading.

3) read through the passage slowly, identifying and underlining main ideas, circling key words, making connections between ideas, and noting anything you don’t understand.   Some annotation guides suggest writing in the margins during the first reading and underlining during the second, the order of actions isn’t as important as ensuring you are marking key ideas (not whole paragraphs or pages) and making useful notes to yourself in the margins.

4) look over the material, what types of questions might your professor ask about the information in this section?  Can you see any connections to previous material? Are any of the course objectives or learning outcomes (found in the syllabus) addressed?  Note these questions in the margins.

5) later, either  during the review/recall stage of a SQ3R reading method, while studying for a quiz or exam, or looking for information for a discussion board post or paper, look over your annotations.  Can you answer the questions you created?  Just glancing at the underlined and circled key ideas can you explain the topic in more depth without rereading the whole section?

Many proponents of annotation actually discourage the use of highlighters and encourage students to annotate with a fine tip pen (ball point is better than gel if the pages are thin).  What tools and methods you choose are up to you, and annotation is a very individualized technique.


Not sure annotation is for you? 

Concerned about book value?  It can be intimidating or even feel ‘wrong’ somehow to write in a book that cost you more than you like to think about…and you may be worried about resale value of your book.  This is valid, marked up books can sell for less than ‘like new’ online, but if marking up a book results in more information being learned and retained in a course that has a value as well…and some students actually intentionally purchased marked up books with the hope that it will have been done well and be useful to guide their own learning focus.

Worried it will take too much time?  By actively reading and turning the margins of your textbook into an instant study guide you should actually reduce the amount of time needed for re-reading or outlining in preparation for exams.  Initially annotation will be slow and add time to your reading, but just like any skill you will become more proficient with time and consistent practice.

Still not quite sure what annotation really looks like in action? To see a demonstration of annotation, check out this quick 4 minute video from Southwestern Michigan College, or search for many more examples available on YouTube.

DID YOU KNOW….that OSU is one of only two land, sea, space, and sun grant research institutions in the United States?



WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Lots and lots (and lots) of research!

You may think that just because you don’t live close to Corvallis, that you aren’t eligible to participate in the wide array of research opportunities that exist across the OSU campus for undergraduate students. Yet, there are many opportunities that involve “an educational collaboration between students and faculty members” that can be facilitated from a distance. Sometimes students reach out to faculty for project supervision, and other times faculty members seek out research teams. Either way, participating in undergraduate research can be beneficial educationally and professionally.



Undergraduate Research, Scholarships, and Arts states that undergraduate research:

  • Engages and empowers students in hands-on learning
  • Enhances the student learning experience through mentoring relationships with faculty
  • Increases retention in the STEM disciplines & other fields
  • Provides effective career preparation & promotes interest in graduate education
  • Develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, self confidence, and intellectual independence
  • Promotes an innovation-oriented culture



Check out the Undergraduate Research, Scholarships, and Arts website and Dr. Kevin Ahern’s video on HOW TO GET STARTED!