Do you get sweaty palms and an increased heart rate when your professors mention the word ‘test’? You may be one of the many students from grade school to college that experiences some degree of test anxiety. Don’t let nerves take over and hurt your exam performance. Instead, try these 10 test-taking tips to breeze through your next test.
1) Avoid thinking you need to cram.
Cramming increases stress. Be calm and find a relaxed state of mind, knowing you have the time to study.
2) Be prepared.
Preparedness is perhaps the number one way to decrease test anxiety. Instead of waiting to the last minute to cram, start studying early (see #1).
3) Pack your backpack the night before.
Limit the things you need to do the morning of the test. Buy your scantron, sharpen your pencils and pack your backpack the night before to avoid extra stress the morning of your test.
4) Go to bed early.
Sleep! The night before your exam, be sure to go to bed early, so you are well rested. While this sounds like a cliche, there are many studies that suggest sleep can reduce anxiety and increase performance on tests.
5) Eat a healthy breakfast.
Don’t go to your exam on an empty stomach. Food can take your mind off anxiety as well as fuel your brain and get blood pumping to your brain. Instead of having processed foods or caffeine that will make you jittery, plan an easy and healthy meal for on-the-go.
6) Be comfortable.
In order to limit test anxiety, you want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. That includes adjusting to physical and mental distractions. Make sure to be prepared with extra layers for a cold classroom or a snack in case you get hungry during the test. These distractions can take your mind off the test and make it harder to focus.
7) Show up early.
The worst way to start a test is rushing into class because you got stuck in traffic or showing up late because you couldn’t find parking. Plan to get to your test early, so you have wiggle room in case of an emergency.
8) Use relaxation techniques.
If you find yourself tensing up and becoming anxious during a test, try some exercises to help relax yourself. Take slow, deep breaths or stand up and stretch. There are also a variety of apps for self-improvement and mindfulness that are great for staying calm and reminding yourself that you will do great.
9) Go back through your answers.
If you are nervous and feel rushed, it is likely you made some careless mistakes. Before you turn your test in, take a minute and go back through your answers. Now that some anxiety has worn off, you can think about the questions with a clear mind.
10) Be confident.
The best way to reduce test-taking anxiety is to just be confident in yourself. If you have gone to class and done the exercises your professor assigned, you will do great.
Believe in yourself because we believe in you. South College believes in all of our students, and we want to provide them with the help to succeed. Still experiencing test-taking anxiety? Talk to your advisor and see what resources are available to make you feel more confident in your studies.