Exam Stress

KD250E7419F_1000005Examination Stress

NOTE: The above visual and the following quotes support with expert theoretical opinions what should be discussed in each section ( 1,2 or 3)

Active Involvement

“…the rough truth holds up that people cannot keep track of very much unfamiliar information at any one time. The number of things that need attention simultaneously is called cognitive load. When the cognitive load gets high, pieces of information simply drop out of short-term memory…The cognitive load bottleneck contributes to some of the defaults of thinking. Narrow thinking is lower in cognitive load: there is less to keep track of. Fuzzy thinking avoids differentiation’s that otherwise require cognitive capacity. sprawling thinking occurs in part because, in thinking about complex matters, people simply lose track of where they are through cognitive overload.Literate cultures incorporate an important partial solution to the cognitive load problem: thinking on paper-or blackboard, computer, anything that can function as a scratchpad. Writing and drawing are usually considered tools of communication, but they are also very much devices for thinking at the moment. By thinking on paper, people can manage far more pieces of information than Miller’s seven plus or minus two quite handily…Unfortunately, although few would attempt intricate arithmetic or algebra without paper and pencil, people surprisingly often try to reason out complicated matters… in conversations with themselves and others, without ever touching a pencil. They seem not to realize that in juggling a huge array of factors they are dropping several along the way. This inevitably tips thinking toward the default. About anything complicated and serious, it’s wise to think on paper at least some of the time.” (Perkins 168)


Dehydration is a common problem that’s linked to poor learning. To be at their best, learners need water…Stress researchers found that within five minutes of drinking water, there a marked decline in corticoids and ACTH, two hormones associated with elevated stress. (Heybach and Vernikos-Danellis 1979)
“Canadian study, 500 students outperformed those at exam time who didn’t get an extra hour of movement time during the day of the exam. When activity was increased…academic scores went up”
(Brain Conf.2000,Summerford)
“UC Irvine neuroscientists discovered exercise (movement) triggers BDNF, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor that enhances cognition.” (Brain Conf.2000,Summerford)

“Peter Stick, PhD. (1995) at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center of Syracuse, New York established another important link. His staff traced a pathway from the cerebellum…back to parts of the brain involved in memory, attention, and spatial perception. Amazingly, the part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning…At a recent society for Neuroscience Conference in San Diego W.T.Thatch, Jr., PhD. chair of the symposium entitled The Role of the Cerebellum in Cognition, cited eighty studies that suggest strong links between the cerebellum and memory, spatial perception, language, attention, emotion, nonverbal cues, and even decision-making” (Jensen 2000 )

“Provide ‘settling time’…The best type of reflection time is not seatwork or homework, but rather a walk, stretching, rote tasks … chores (i.e., clearing the bulletin board or hanging art), doodling, or merely resting. Breaks, recess, lunch and going home can also be considered downtime. Ideally, ‘brain-breaks’ ought to be built into your lessons… every twenty minutes or so. The more intense the new learning, the more reflection time is necessary.” (Jensen 2000 p124)
“…sarcasm, criticism and put-downs increase abnormalities in heart rate… Allan Rozanski, PhD.(1988) reports in The New England Journal of Medicine that these aberrations are as significant and measurable as those from heavy workout or pre-attack myocardial chest pains.”

“…when the brain senses danger, higher-order thinking skills take a back seat to survival concerns.” (Jensen 2000 p301)

“One of the critical factors of an enriched environment is one which is mostly taken for granted, the visual climate. Our eyes are capable of registering 36,000 visual messages per hour-a huge number when you stop to think about it…Between 80 and 90 percent of all information that is absorbed by our brain is visual. In fact, the retina accounts for 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain. With this enormous capacity, it is important to be aware of the environmental factors that influence how we see and process information.” (Jensen 2000 p 55)
“…when subjects were asked to stand, their heart rate increased by ten beats per minute on average. As a result more blood goes to the brain, thereby activating the central nervous system to increase neural firing. Standing up, he (Max Vercruyssen, PhD University of Southern California) concludes created more attentional arousal, speeds up information processing by 5 to 20 percent, and increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain by 10 to 15 percent.” (Jensen 2000 p170)

Memory techniques

“Generally speaking, learning results from the operation of neural linkages between global mappings and value centers. Learning is achieved when behavior lead to synaptic changes in global mappings that satisfy set points. In other words,we are learning when we can relate the knowledge from one area to another, then personalize it. Three essentials of heightened brain functions are categorization, memory and learning. The last depends on the first two; the second depends on the first. Perceptual categorization is essential for memory. The value centers are located in the hypothalamus and mid brain.” (Jensen 2000 p 82)

“…Many people believe that sheer repetition is a good way to memorize something. In fact, it is a mediocre method. Much more rapid memorizing comes from any approach that emphasizes finding familiar chunks, identifying patterns, and building associations in what you are memorizing. Why do some people invest in sheer repetition?” (Perkins p169)
“Factors for meaning making are 1) relevance; 2) emotions; and 3) context. Relevance is a function of the brain making a connection from existing neural sites. emotions are triggered by the brain’s chemistry and tag the learning as important; and context triggers pattern-making which related to the activation of larger neural fields… Relevance actually happens on a cellular level. An already-existing neuron simply ‘connects’ with a nearby neuron to make a connection.” (Jensen 2000 p281)

“Memory is the biological process whereby information is coded and retrieved…..Contrary to our collective notion of a personal “memory bank” or storage unit reserved for this purpose, memory, unlike our heart or lungs, is not a singular place or thing. Rather, it is a collection of complex electrochemical responses activated through multiple sensory channels and stored in unique and elaborate neuronal networks throughout the brain. Dynamic in nature, your memory is continually changing and evolving as new information is added to it. With the help of today’s technology, scientists have made great strides toward mapping this extraordinarily complex process we call memory…..This is because most of use have a mixture of memory-type strengths and weaknesses. Because different types of memory are stored in various function-specific areas of the brain, the act of recalling something pulls bits and pieces of “memory” together from their respective storage sites. The particular “pathway” accessed in the formation of a memory depends on multiple factors, including time, importance, purpose, content, strength, and the source of the stimuli-the basis of all memory.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 1-2)


Perkins, David (1995) Outsmarting IQ: The Emerging Science of Learnable Intelligence The Free Press, Simon & Schuster Inc. New York

Healy, Jane M. (1990) Endangered Minds: Why Our Children Don’t Think. Simon and Schuster, New York

Jensen, Eric (2000) Brain Based Learning The Brain Store Inc. San Diego CA
Jensen, Eric (1996) Completing The Brain Puzzle: The Brain-Based Approach. Del Mar, CA: Turning Point.

Jensen, Eric & Markowitz, Karen (1999) The Great Memory Book The Brain Store Inc. San Diego CA

Sapolsky, Robert (1998) Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers W.H.Freeman and Company, New York



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