Preparing For An Exam

By Hedrick Lepsch

Many students struggle with test taking anxiety. With the pressure of performing well and making the grade, the stress can become overwhelming and even paralyzing on test day. To help you calm down, relax, and approach your test with confidence there are a few things you can do in preparation and on the day of your test to reduce anxiety.

Sometimes people think that the nervousness they're feeling is a sign of their unpreparedness or impending failure. This is simply not true. Recognize that test taking is an innately stressful activity and the anxiety you feel is natural. While others taking the test may not show it, they are feeling some level of anxiousness as well.

Anxiety is an emotion that comes into play when we face challenges we do not know how to handle. If you begin to take a test you have not adequately prepared for, the anxiety you feel will most likely be severe (and warranted). So make sure you plan ahead.

Rehearse the material you will be tested on repeatedly and in a number of different ways. Ensure that you know what sort of things you will be tested on, and understand them.

A good way to test yourself is to explain the concepts to a friend and see if there are any aspects you don't know how to clarify. After you have studied the material, make sure you are well rested and alert when you go to take the test. A late night cram session will do you more harm than good.

It can be tempting to rush into the test, quickly trying to write down all the answers before you forget them, but resist this urge. Pick a seat that has optimal lighting and that is as comfortable as possible. Take the time to close your eyes and take some deep breaths before beginning your test. The material you have studied is most likely to be recalled by your mind when it is in a relaxed state, so make sure you are mentally and physically comfortable before you begin.

Just before beginning the test you will want to find the most comfortable spot available that provides good lighting and is removed from as many distractions as possible. Be relaxed and, if need be, have a small stress ball or other relaxation tool available for use throughout the test. Also, avoid students or others who may be expressing negativity and anxiety about the test. Take out the testing materials you have brought with you and take a moment to relax, focus, and open your mind so that you can retrieve the information you have studied so diligently.

Test taking anxiety can be crippling, but it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Remember these points the next time you need to take a test and watch as the added confidence helps you during the test taking process.

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