Do you have test anxiety? Check out these tips that will help you become a test-taking expert!
Top 4 ways to reduce test anxiety:
In the passenger’s seat of my high school best friend’s car, we’re plummeting down the road toward another state while the clock flashes 6:00a.m. the morning of the ACT. Two unopened granola bars lay in the center console, and the usually giggly atmosphere is deafened by exhaustion and anxiety. Every minute the clock inches closer to seven o’clock, the further we get away from eating breakfast and the closer we get to taking a test with the power to decide our futures.
The night before was spent tossing and turning, worrying that the sweatshirt you picked out won’t be warm enough in an unfamiliar classroom, gym, cafeteria, or wherever you’ll be shepherded into like dull sheep in a field. You barely touched your dinner, but your stomach grumbles all night long, begging for even a tiny morsel of food. You’re afraid to get up in case you’re missing the opportunity to finally fall asleep, and even if you do eat something, you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep it down.
You have test anxiety. We all have it, even though it seems like the “smartest” kids don’t. Just because you’re making good grades doesn’t mean we all don’t get nervous the night before the test. And that’s okay.
Test anxiety stems from a lot of different issues, from how important each test is, to how you’ve done on tests in the past. It’s normal to have test anxiety, but there are a lot of ways to ease the grade-damaging blow you can feel from taking a test while you’re still anxious.
The number one way to reduce test anxiety is to prepare for the test. If you come into a test prepared, you will be less anxious. Take time to study a little bit every day leading up to the test, instead of forcing yourself to cram it all in the night before. See how many pages of notes you have for a particular chapter, or how many pages of a study book you have and study a set number every night (a planner is very useful for this as well).
An easy way to reduce any kind of anxiety is to subscribe to a routine. Make sure you follow it before you take the test. Don’t skip breakfast if you always have a granola bar. Eat a good dinner the night before, and don’t try to go to sleep super early or stay up late studying. It’s better to read a book to relax your mind instead of tossing and turning, and its been proven that you won’t retain the last information you’ve studied, so just know that your scheduled studying was the best you can do and the only thing that can help you now is a good night of sleep. Your body knows when something is different, so don’t try to fool it.
Get in the right mental state to take a test. Sometimes this means seeing where the test will be taken, and how close to other students you might be in a different classroom. Adapt to your environment so you know you will be comfortable the day of the test, and you won’t be focusing on that kid that chews gum a little too loud. Don’t fuel up on caffeine if you don’t normally drink coffee, so you come to the test in the right state of mind to focus.
The best advice though, is to relax and have confidence in yourself. You’re smart, well-prepared, and you can do this. Don’t be the kid scrambling to look at their notes one last time. Take a deep breath, and be confident in your knowledge. If you don’t know every question, that’s okay, do the best you can and know that you came prepared to test-day in the very best way.