Experiencing test anxiety can negatively affect the grades you receive. This can be especially frustrating when you know the material but are frozen into paralysis due to feeling anxious about the paper presented before you. To add insult to injury, many of the information comes flooding back with stunning accuracy once the test is over. Here are some strategies that you can employ that will help you eliminate test anxiety.
Eliminate Test Anxiety by Studying Ahead of Time
If you suffer with anxiety around doing test, cramming is not for you. It is important that you take time out to plot a study schedule. At the start of the school year become familiar with test dates and start plotting a study schedule early on to avoid last minute cramming.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask your professor what is the expected format for the test (multiple choice, short answer, essay format) and inquire about what would be the most important material to focus on. Often times, teachers and professors will point out the important material for a test or you can gage this by paying close attention to what is talked about in class and taking notes.
I must emphasize that studying smarter and not more is important. Don’t try to study your text book cover to cover, focus on the important material garnered from what was covered in class and from what your teacher says is important.
I must also add, if a concept in class is covered that you don’t understand, don’t wait until near the test date to grasp it, follow-up immediately with your teacher, professor, or fellow classmate for a better understanding of the concept.
Eliminate Test Anxiety by Using These Immediate Techniques
Choose Comfortable Seating
It may be helpful to sit in a section of the classroom that you regularly sit at. Sitting somewhere else may make you feel uncomfortable and out of place and this can also produce anxiety. Furthermore, people tend to sit in the same spot subconsciously and you may end up sitting beside someone that makes you more anxious because they are unfamiliar. We form habits for a reason and often they are employed to eliminate anxiety and form a routine.
Hearing your stomach grumble in a silent room in and of itself is anxiety producing as it draws attention and can make you feel self-conscious. Furthermore, having a well-balanced meal before your test will eliminate hunger pangs and will allow you to focus more on the test material. Also, calming herbal tea (such as Chamomile) can be beneficial in test anxiety situations as it has the ability to make you feel more relaxed. If you suffer from test anxiety coffee may work against you and can cause you to feel more anxious and therefore should be avoided. An alternative to coffee that can assist you with focus, believe it or not, is chewing gum. Before you arrive for your test buy a pack and start chewing once that paper is placed in front of you.
Arrive Early or Just in Time For Your Test
Try to be early for you test or just in time. You want to have time to settle yourself, organize your thoughts and avoid the anxiety producing feelings associated with being late. I also suggest the alternative of arriving just in time for your test if you are easily rattled by classmate opinions and anxiety. Oftentimes, when you are early for a test your classmates are gathered together trying to find last minute answers to possible test questions and may be vocal about their own test anxiety. This atmosphere may be anxiety producing for you, so arriving just in time will allow you to avoid the aforementioned atmosphere, settle in the classroom and start the test.
Skip Questions You Don’t Immediately Know The Answers To
Don’t spend time mulling over a question that you don’t know that answer to right away. Just skip over the question and move on to the questions that you can answer with confidence. Mulling over a question that you’re not sure of the answer to can cause you to become very anxious and negatively frames the entire test. You are more likely to feel like a failure when you focus on questions that at first sight elude you and the possibility of failure is the anxiety-causing agent. By focusing only on questions you know the answers to, you put yourself in a positive space and in answering those questions it may trigger answers to questions you originally skipped over.
Believe or not your thoughts have a direct affect on your behavior. If you go into the test room telling yourself that you are a failure or telling yourself that you can’t remember anything these beliefs may indeed come true. It is therefore imperative that you monitor your thoughts and frame them positively. Tell yourself that you are prepared, that you will do well and that you are relaxed, by mere positive thinking you can greatly decrease your test anxiety.
And hey, please don’t forget to breath!