Introduction: It is common for college students to experience anxiety, especially in high stakes testing environments, which may lead to poor test scores. Exploring strategies that may reduce or limit anxiety would be beneficial for students who experience debilitating test anxiety, ultimately improving their academic performance. This paper explores the effects of aromatherapy amongst college students with elevated levels of anxiety when taking tests.
Methods: The literature was searched using PubMed, Google Scholar and EBSCOhost. Indexing terms included aromatherapy for test anxiety in the English language only. Studies were chosen if they analyzed the impact of aromatherapy on test anxiety at the college level. Ten articles were initially chosen, after review 4 articles were selected for further examination.
Results: Three of the 4 studies had comparable results. When aromatherapy was used, test anxiety was reduced. However, in 1 study there was no difference in anxiety levels between groups. Essential oils used for the aromatherapy included lemon, lavender and rosemary.
Conclusion: At college level, aromatherapy may be an effective method to reduce test anxiety according to 3 out of 4 studies. Using aromatherapy in testing environments for students who have test-related anxiety may be a good option to help students. Further evaluation is needed to correlate the impact of aromatherapy on anxiety and exam scores before a definitive conclusion can be drawn.
Author keywords: Aromatherapy; Test Anxiety; College; Nursing; Chiropractic
Author affiliations: Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa
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