Monday, October 1, 2012

College: Dealing with Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a real thing and it doesn't get any better in college where the tests are worth even more and are more difficult to prepare for. In a lot of my high school classes, we were given study guides and told the formats of the tests. In college, that doesn't happen more often than it does. Here are some tips on how to deal with it.

Remember the first exam is always the hardest
Try not to worry too much about what you'll get on the first exam. If you don't do as well as you expected, remember there will always be more exams. The first exam is basically a learning period on what to study and how the exams are formatted.

Study hard
The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. If there are a lot of vocab words, make flashcards to help you learn them. Skim through the chapters again. Do any of the questions at the end of the chapters. Review your lecture notes and the Powerpoints if they're available.

Don't cram
Don't start studying the night before the exam or worse, a few hours ahead of time. At the very least, start studying a few days before. This is especially important when it comes to making flashcards. It's better to be able to study them multiple times, especially right before bed, in order to make sure you'll remember them.

Take care of yourself
Make sure you get a good night's sleep and eat well before the exam. This way your brain will be working at full capacity. There's nothing worse during an exam than not being able to stop yawning. If you have an early class that you don't normally eat breakfast for, you might want to consider eating anyway on exam days. It's also give you some time for a quick review session.

Find your ideal method of relaxation
If you get really anxious before a test, try different methods of relaxation until you find one that works for you. It might include visualization, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation. It will help keep you relaxed and in the best frame of mind to rock the exam.