Tests and quizzes are more widely used in schools than ever. This week, Morrison Education Center students are taking their final exams so it is a perfect time to review some strategies that help to minimize test anxiety.
With so much depending on test results, it is no wonder that students often become anxious about taking tests. But don’t worry! You can master test-anxiety and improve your performance on exams by following a simple plan: develop good study habits, use effective techniques to memorize content, take steps to reduce test anxiety, and take advantage of smart strategies when taking the test.
A little nervousness before a test can be good. It motivates us to work hard and put forth our best effort on the examination. When we become too anxious, though, that anxiety can undermine our confidence and interfere with our ability to solve problems. Some tips to reduce test anxiety are to:
- Remember to take care of yourself first. You should be sure to eat healthy foods and to get enough sleep before a test. After all, sleepy, hungry people are not in the best frame of mind to perform well on tests! You may also want to engage in moderate physical activity or exercise prior to taking the test to reduce body tension. A student who gets a full night’s sleep, goes for a jog, and eats a balanced breakfast prior to the test will improve the odds of doing his or her best on an examination and avoiding the “testing jitters”
- Come prepared. Arrive at the test site early. Make a special effort to bring all materials, including extra pens, pencils, paper, etc. By showing up on time and prepared, you will not have to waste valuable energy worrying about small details and become distracted from the real goal: doing your best.
- Make an effort to relax periodically during the test. During a test, you may feel yourself becoming tense or nervous. Whenever you feel the tension building, take a brief relaxation break, using whatever works for you.
- Engage in positive self-talk. Replace irrational negative thinking with positive self-talk. When you have studied hard for a test, for example, your confidence will be shaken if you think negative thoughts such as “I don’t have a chance of passing this exam!” Instead, adopt an upbeat but realistic attitude: “I prepared carefully for this test. If I do my best, I have a good chance of passing it.” One more tip: If your friends are nervous about the test, try to avoid talking with them about it. You don’t want their anxiety to rub off on you!