Ahhh, test taking. The thought of taking a test gives most people anxiety. I am one of these people. In grade school, I would miss questions that I knew the answer to simply because of my anxiety. You can be fully prepared to take a test and still be anxious about it. That’s perfectly normal. I am in this category, even as a grad student. The good thing is that there is help for test anxiety. There are several things you can do to combat those feelings.
A good breakfast does the body good! We have to make sure we fuel up our bodies for the day. When your brain is fueled and not thinking about food you can focus better. I’ve presented research that gave evidence to this. I’ve presented this research at WSSU as well as the Southeastern School Behavioral Health Conference in Myrtle Beach (2017).
Make sure you are sleeping the recommended amount of time. Sleep gives your body the rest it needs. Your mind does enough when you are awake. Give it the break it needs.
Make sure your study space is free of distractions. When studying make sure you space out your studying. Do not CRAM the night before! This does not work. You may remember a few things but not enough. Your brain retains information over time. Study the information routinely. Ask for help when studying (friends, peers, family members). There are many tools you can use to help make your studying easier.
- Test tips
There are several test tips you can use when taking a test. First, make sure you read the directions as well as the test questions carefully. I had a science teacher in high school that gave a test as an April Fools joke. His only instructions were read the test fully before answering the questions. The last question told you it was a joke.
Also, underline words if you need to. Anything that helps you recall or think through the answers. I like to go through a test and answer all the easy questions first. That way I have more time to solve the questions I need more time to think about. For subjects that require formulas, you can write those down before you begin. Also, use scrap paper if it’s allowed. Some of us are visual learners and may need to draw concepts out.
- Extra help
If you need accommodations please talk your teacher. They will make sure you get the help you need. If you did not make the score you were hoping for, also talk to your teacher about those questions. See where you may have made an error. Ask about tutoring and you can also use the internet for help.
Lastly just make sure that you are giving you best effort and utilizing the resources you have. Tests are not always easy but the more prepared you are for the test, the better the outcome will be.