Reduce Exam Anxiety
(Continued from 1)
3. Commit your notes to memory.
If you follow steps 1 and 2, by the time you reach the end of your course
you'll have little left to do to prepare for your test. By reviewing often
and in short time spurts, you'll spend less time in each study session and
you'll be able to retain the information better and you won't get fatigued.
As the test day nears, review your study sheets more and more frequently.
As you get closer to test day, you'll find that you'll be able to absorb
more and more material in less and less time. Do not merely memorize the
information. Your aim is to understand the material so that it makes sense
in your mind and you'll be able to retain it better.
Try to study when you're most alert and where you won't be distracted.
Also, take time to meditate on the material by reviewing it in your head
away from your notes. Put in your own words what you've read and connect
these thoughts to what you already know. You may even combine studying
with another activity, such as gardening, waiting at the doctor's office,
or waiting in traffic, so you'll feel less stressed and alone.
On Test Day
Allow enough time for driving, parking, and finding the exam room. Don?t
get there too early, however. Lengthy last minute reviews seldom improve
your chances. Ideally, you should arrive within 15 minutes of the time
the test will begin.
5. Be prepared.
The night before the test, set aside the items you'll need, such as pencils,
pens, calculators, and ID tags. Most tests are timed, so wear a wristwatch.
Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a light breakfast, and drink fluids
so that you?ll be functioning at your peak. Dress in layers; you'll want
to feel slightly cool during the test.
6. Get comfortable.
Relax. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. If you
suffer badly from nerves, try deep breathing or other relaxation technique
before you attempt the test. Use affirmations, such as "I'm well
prepared," "I know I'll succeed," or "I've got plenty
of time to answer all the questions."
7. Read the directions carefully.
Generally, you're allowed time to review the directions before the test
begins. Take advantage of it. Preview the test if you?re allowed so that
you can determine how much time you'll need to allot to each section.
8. Skim the entire test.
Answer the easy questions first. This will give you confidence and will
buy you time to think about the tougher ones. While looking over the test
and doing the easy questions, your subconscious mind will have been working
on the answers to the harder ones. Read each question thoroughly. Don't
linger too long on any one question.
9. Complete every question.
In most cases, a guess is better than leaving it blank. (Find out if you're
penalized for wrong answers.) Express difficult questions in your own
words. Rephrasing a question can make it clearer to you, but be sure you
don't change its meaning. For true/false and multiple-choice exams, look
for words of exclusivity like always, never, only, and even if. Watch
for modifying or
limiting phrases. Instructors often insert names, dates, places, or other
details to make a statement inaccurate. Remember that all parts of a statement
must be true or the entire statement is false.
10. Review your answers.
Take any remaining time to review your answers to ensure that you understood
the question correctly. If you're allowed, consider placing a small mark
next to each question as you go through them the first time to identify
those you're not sure of. Virtually all classroom and standardized tests
have time limits, so use all of the time you're allotted.
The key to alleviating anxiety is knowledge. The more you know in advance
about an exam--such as content, format, and time limits--the less you'll
worry. Knowing about an exam includes understanding the types of questions
you?ll be asked, how the exam will be graded, how much time you'll have
to respond, and so on. Best of all, when you've adequately prepared for
the test--by study, practice, and frequent review of the material throughout
the course--you'll succeed beyond your expectations. Which will give you
even more confidence for the next exam.
Remember: Studying doesn't have to take a lot of time or involve torture.
If you follow these pointers, you'll find that you're spending less time
studying and getting more accomplished. Which means more time for entertainment
and relaxation, and more time for the people and things that matter most
in your life.
Gregory Lloyd is a financial writer and freelance business writer. He
satisfied a third of the credits for his business degree by taking advantage
of the College Level Examination Program, one of the most widely accepted
programs for gaining alternative college credit by exam.
Memorize With Mneumonics.
Memory techniques to help you remember.