Author: Penny Vernon, NASBA Candidate Care Manager
Part I of our Managing Test Anxiety series centered on methods available to reduce the general level of anxiety often related to a stressful event. In Part II, we’re going to focus on the stress that often sets in as candidates begin to take the Uniform CPA Examination.
As the day of the Exam approaches, anxiety levels tend to rise. This is referred to as anticipatory anxiety. Candidates often fall into what I call the “What if?” trap. They begin to second-guess themselves, calling their readiness into question: “What if I haven’t studied enough?” “What if I am not really ready?” “What if I can’t remember what I’ve learned?” “What if I fail?”
This type of thinking can lead to increased agitation, and even depression. One way to avoid this uncomfortable state is to use the positive imagery techniques I mentioned in Part I of this series to visualize yourself achieving your goal.
To enhance your ability to knock out pre-exam stress and sidestep a shaky start on the Exam, here are more tips to reduce unnecessary stress before starting the test.
Several days before the Exam
Day before the Exam
Day of the Exam
Keep these tips in mind as you make your way to the testing center and onto your computer to get off to a good start on the CPA Exam. Stay tuned to NASBA.org for Part III in the Managing Test Anxiety series, in which we will discuss what to expect when faced with the unexpected during the CPA Exam.
Penny Vernon has worked at NASBA for over 15 years, serving as manager of Candidate Care for the past 10. She earned a master’s in Clinical Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, and her research on anxiety was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Vernon was also instrumental in opening and running NASBA’s testing center in Guam, giving her first-hand experience with the workings of a testing center.
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