Dr. D offers summaries, reviews, and opinions
by Richard Driscoll


☼☼☼☼☼   Strong anxiety reduction, confirmed grade gains, supporting research.
☼☼☼☼  Solid anxiety reduction expected, some supporting research.
☼☼☼   Some benefits expected but unconfirmed.
☼☼   A pleasant experience.
    Unclear how anyone would benefit.

☼☼☼+  Recorded Systematic Desensitization
Systematic desensitization is a standard method to reduce test anxiety, with solid benefits.  Recorded versions produce about 55% of the gains, and are rated here as moderately beneficial.  Any psychologist familiar with the systematic desensitization protocol should be able to produce an audio-taped version, suitable for use in your school program.

Note on hypnotherapy methods.   Reluctantly, we must flag an unfortunate goblin awaiting.  Hypnotherapy products may not be suitable for grade schools, which must consider parental support and cannot afford misunderstandings.   These materials are better suited for purchase by colleges or by individual students.

☼☼☼–  Test Anxiety Prevention.  $24+
by Howard Rosenthal, Brunner-Routledge
Review:  While the CD is specifically for counselors facing licensing exams, the suggestions can be used by anyone.  Some of the preparation tips are quite sensible (such as be on time), although others are more demanding and flash by too quickly.
The relaxation section is brief but satisfactory. Rosenthal presents several test preparation and test taking scenes, and makes good use of positives suggestions that you will feel confident and well-prepared throughout.  The suggestion that you will feel especially relaxed during your tests may be somewhat unrealistic, as even the most proficient test-takers tend to be wound tight going into a major exam.
Purchase the CD

☼☼+  No More Test Anxiety, Book and CD,  $17.95
by Ed Newman, Ph.D., Learning Skills Publications
Review:  The CD has 40+ minutes of conscious breathing, deep relaxation, and mellow experience.   I found the experience quite pleasant, but must add that relaxation by itself is one of the more modest anxiety reduction protocols.  Relaxation is temporary, and students are anxious again in the actual testing situations.
The last tract is a 20 minute trance induction, which is also pleasant and might be beneficial.  Trance states can be highly beneficial, but primarily when used to promote positive attitude changes toward the tests.
The book itself provides familiar information in a satisfactory manner.
We would hope that some of the comfort of this pleasant CD might show up amid the high stress of important exams.
See further information or purchase the Book & CD