Around this time of the year everyone is taking their first midterm. I just took my a midterm exam on Friday and I think as students there’s a general consensus that exams aren’t all that fun or exciting. For some, exam week means pulling all-nighters. For me, it means test anxiety. It’s not fun and it can mess up your mind-set before, during, and after taking the exam; however, finding ways to work with test anxiety is totally do-able. So here are some solutions I discovered that have helped me with working around test anxiety:
1. Study Smart
Before exams I like to make a study guide, do practice exam and study guide workbooks problems, and redoing problem sets.
I make study guides by compiling a list of all of the concepts we covered in class. Then I’ll put an arrow next to the major concepts that have been discussed about a lot, two arrows if I predict this is something that is highly likely to be covered on the test, and a star next to the concepts I haven’t fully understood yet. This is helpful in prioritizing and remembering what I still need to go over before the exam.
Practice exams and study guide workbooks are a great way to test to see what you don’t know; redoing problems sets helps you see if you understand the concepts and are able to reapply them.
Knowing what you don’t know ahead of time and studying smart gives you some control in how you will equip yourself for the exam.
2. Listening to Music Before The Test
I really like listening to music right before the test as it often helps me keep a positive mood and attitude. Another reason is because I personally don’t like discussing about concepts right before the test; I’ve had many instances when a classmate tried discussing concepts with me right before the exam is passed out and we run across a disagreement. Yeah, that’s stressful and can cause self-doubt in your own knowledge during the exam. No thanks! When I have earbuds on, people are less likely to talk to me and I can avoid the unnecessary stress.
3. Go in With Confidence
I get anxious and sweaty before the test because I hope to perform well. My cousin advised me that going into the test with confidence could make a big difference by leaving less room for self doubt to creep in. Since then I’ve tried my best to mentally prepare myself; I found that building self-confidence about my capabilities to succeed helps me stay calm and get through my exam questions more smoothly.
4. Five-Second Rule
When I read a question and can not immediately solve it within five seconds, I just skip it. Why? Well for one, if you still have half of the test to go, you really don’t want to spend all of your time on that one problem. Another reason why it’s a useful method is because I grow anxious when it seems like something I didn’t cover in my study sessions. Don’t let that anxious mind affect all of the problems you are perfectly capable of doing! Keep moving ahead and come back later.
5. Take a Breath
Starting to feel panicky during the test because of a difficult problem or the time crunch? STOP! If you have been preparing for the test and you’ve been nailing down concepts during review sessions and practice problems as well as actively seeking help at tutoring and office hours, then take a deep breath and remember that you got this. Even if this question take a few more steps to think through, you are well equipped to go forward.
These are some tips that have helped me manage my test anxiety. What are some things you do to keep test anxiety under your wraps?