Very quickly after the start of my freshman year, I discovered my fear of the BYU testing center. There’s just something about walking into a room full of other stressed out, sleep deprived students that makes me super anxious. Because of this, my test scores reflected my test anxiety, rather than my actual knowledge of the test’s subject.
Lots of people feel nervous or anxious before a test, but there has to be a way to keep it from hurting your performance! Here are 10 tips that have helped me get over my test anxiety, and will hopefully do the same for you.
Before the test:
1. Go to the test review
If your professor schedules a class to go over the information that will be covered on the test, make sure you go! It’ll give you a refresher on the material and will help you know what to study for so you can be better prepared for the test.
If you know you’re going to be anxious during a test, plan ahead and get a good night’s sleep the night before. It doesn’t do any good to stay up all night studying if you get to the test and start falling asleep. Getting some rest also allows you to focus on the test instead of how tired you are.
Eat a filling and nutritious meal before the test! Food will give you the energy you need to get through the test. Plus, the last thing you want is a growling stomach to distract you.
Physical activity, like running or jumping jacks, raises your heart rate and releases endorphins that make you happy and relieve stress. If you don’t have time to do a whole workout before your test, walk the long way to the testing center, and walk a little faster than normal.
5. Do some yoga
If exercise isn’t your thing, try yoga or Pilates - or even just stretching. In this case, it’s more about taking time to slow down, focus on your breathing, and let your stress leave your body.
Once you have your test in front of you, if time allows, slow down and take some deep breaths before starting on the first question.
2. Be confident
All of the tests I have failed started with me telling myself that I was going to fail. Think positive thoughts, and remember that however you do on this test, you’re going to be okay.
3. Use testing strategies
Look through the different sections of the test. You don’t have to start on the first page. Depending on the subject, I either start with what I’m most familiar with to have a good start, or I start with the most challenging to get it over with and cruise through the rest of the test. Play around to see what works for you!
4. Use scratch paper
You know how you learn best. If you’re like me, and you need to write out your thoughts, or make a list of questions you need to go back to, take scratch paper with you to the test if it’s allowed.
5. Go over your questions
If time permits, slowly read through every question again at the end of the test. It may seem like a waste of time, but this is the best way to catch simple mistakes you may have missed earlier. Don’t forget to go back and answer any questions you skipped!