What is Test Anxiety?
While it's completely normal to feel a bit nervous before a test, some students find test anxiety debilitating. Racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, or feelings of dread can combine with physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat, headache, or nausea. No matter what the exam may be, test anxiety has the power to derail weeks and months of hard work.
Test Anxiety Tips
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, causes of test anxiety may include a fear of failure, lack of adequate prep time, or bad experiences taking tests in the past. You're not alone! Here's what you can do to stay calm in the days leading up to and during your test.
1. Be prepared.
Yes, this seems obvious, but it bears repeating. If you feel confident tht you've prepped thoroughly, you'll feel more confident walking into the test. Need help reviewing though concepts or question types? The tutoring staff at HawCC Learning Center can provide that extra boost you need to feel cool and collected.
2. Get a good night's sleep.
Cramming is never the answer, and pulling an all-nighter can exacerbate your nerves. Having adequate rest (9-10 hours per night) is likely to be more beneficial than rereading a text until dawn.
3. Fuel up.
Eat a nutritious breakfast before the test and pack smart snacks for ongoing energy. Look for foods that offer a steady stream of nutrients, rather than a sugar high follwec by a crash.
4. Get tp class—or the testing site—early.
Feeling rushed will only amp up the anxiety. Pack everything you need for the exam the night before and se the alarm, so you can get out the door on time.
5. Have a positive mental attitude.
Bring a picture of your happy place or come up with a morale-boosting mantra like "I can do this" or "I worked hard and deserve this." Peek at your picture or recite your mantra, right before the exam begins.
6. Read carefully.
Read the directions thoroughly and read all answers before making a choice or starting the essay. There is nothing worse than putting time into a question and realizing you are not solving for x, or the essay is off target. Slwing down can help you stay focused.
7. Just start.
The blank page can maximize your anxiety. After you've read the directions, dive right in by making an outline for an essay answer. Or, find some questions you can ace to build up your confidence and momentum. You can always go back and change things later if needed, but a few quick answers can get the ball rolling.
8. Don't pay attentin to what other people are doing.
Everyone else is scribbling away? Ack! What do they know that you don't? It doesn't matter. Pay attention to your own test and pace, and forget about the other students in the room.
9. Watch the clock.
Realizing that time is almost up and there are lots of test questions left can make it hard to do anything useful in those final minutes. Stay on pace by scoping out the whole test before getting started. Mentally allocate how much time you'll spend on each section. If there's time to recheck, even better.
10. Focus on calm breathing and positive thoughts.
Deep breating can slow down a beating heart or a racing mind, so practice these techniques at home. The very act of concentrating on breathin and thinking can biometrically alter those anxious feelings.
*Taken from The Princeton Review