Combating exam anxiety : an exploratory study among final year students
The findings in the paper are the outcome of a cross-disciplinary project between the University of Hertfordshire Business School and the University Counselling Centre. The researchers were myself, a final year marketing tutor and Gail Simmonds, a university counsellor. We worked together in the last nine weeks of the academic year 2002–3 among a group of 65 final-year students in subject-based tutorial groups. The project draws on literature from emotional aspects of learning and teaching. By using participative inquiry the project involved working with students to understand their concerns and anxieties about approaching exams, putting requested sessions in place and reflecting on reactions from the students and the researchers as practitioners. It was concluded that recognition of the need for a learner-centred approach that addresses emotional as well as academic issues in the learning and teaching of modules has a beneficial effect. The exploratory work in this paper suggests a need continually to attend to the ‘obvious’ by addressing the everyday ordinary interface with students. The recommendation is that issues in teaching undergraduates be considered prior to their final exams. The project also suggests a need for further investigative work to be carried out in connection with final-year students.