Top 10 Ways To Ace a Test
Alrighty, we’ve already covered how to positively present yourself during nerve-racking interviews, so now we’re going to talk about another nail biter- those oh-so wonderful things called exams. It’s the same case circumstance every time- you’ve put forth the effort, studied hard, and know every answer until you pick up your pen. A significant number of people study and participate in class but anxiety still gets the best of them. It’s frustrating to learn the material, study long and hard, and then under-perform on a test due to excessive anxiety. Are you looking for possible solutions to this recurring, brain-draining scenario?
Do you experience
- Physical– headaches, digestive problems, extreme body temperatures, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth.
- Emotional– excessive feelings of fear, helplessness or inhibition, disappointment, anger, depression.
- Behavioral– fidgeting, pacing, substance abuse, avoidance, edginess.
- Cognitive – racing thoughts, ‘going blank’, concentration difficulty, negative self-talk, feelings of dread, comparing yourself to others,
difficulty organizing your thoughts.
From grade school to college, tests are a significant part of the educational process. Many students experience some apprehension before, during, or after an exam and this kind of anxiety is a powerful motivator. Unfortunately, tests can also be intimidating. In some cases nervousness is experienced to such a degree that adverse effects occur, causing poor performance and interference with learning. I’ve been there; I know. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this problem by managing your anxiety instead of letting the anxiety manage you.If you suffer from test anxiety, here are some coping strategies.
1. Prepare Well: The first step to overcoming test anxiety is to make sure you are adequately prepared. Cramming for a test will only increase anxiety. Give yourself enough time to learn material well. Also, find out what you can about the test in advance, such as the types of questions and length.
When performance suffers because of test anxiety, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of negative thinking. It is important to watch what you say to yourself and replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. Thoughts such as, “I should have studied more”, “I must be stupid”, and “Everything is on the line” are not helpful. Force yourself to come up with alternatives like: “I am prepared”, I am smart enough to do well”, and “Even if I don’t do well, it’s not the end of the world.”
Athletes visualize personal success during competition. You can do the same to overcome test anxiety. Visualizing yourself doing well can help make it happen in real life; imagination is a powerful tool.
4. Relaxation Strategies: Make use of relaxation strategies-such as deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and guided imagery. Use these strategies in the weeks leading up to a test, and during the test as needed; they really do work.
5. Stay Healthy: Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and good nutrition are all lifestyle components that keep stress at bay. The day of a test, be sure to eat an adequate breakfast and avoid excess caffeine as it will only contribute to anxiety.
6. Arrive Early:Nothing will heighten anxiety like the feeling of rushing yourself. Arrive at least 10 minutes early. If waiting makes you nervous, bring a magazine or an MP3 player to keep your mind occupied.
7. Focus: During the test, do everything you can to maintain focus. If you find yourself becoming anxious, stop and regroup. Sharpen your pencil or focus on deep breaths. Remember to take your time but pace yourself. Before beginning the test, do a quick review and read directions twice. I can’t name how many times I’ve screwed up just because I skimmed the instructions. Start with the easiest questions first and don’t second-guess what you know.
8. Accept a Little Anxiety: Recognize that a little bit of anxiety before a test is a good thing. If you did not feel nervous, you might not be motivated to do your best. It is only when anxiety becomes unmanageable that it’s a problem.
9. Expect Setbacks: Realize there will always be roadblocks. If you have a bad experience, plan for a better outcome in the future and know that one bad test doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Treat it as a learning experience.
10. Reward Yourself: Take some time to relax and clear your mind after the test. Do not dwell on mistakes you may have made or worry about how you did.
Learning a new skill takes practice and repetition. Just remember these two things: It’s possible to develop new beliefs and you can learn to manage anxiety during tests.
Posted on April 28, 2012, in Anxiety, College Success, Healthy Mind, Motivation, Preparation, Pysche, Stress and tagged anxiety, attitudes, Cameron Gallucci, exams, expectations, failure, focus, management, motivation, nervous, Preparation, relaxation, school, setbacks, strategies, Stress, Student, symptoms, Test anxiety, testing. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.