It’s no secret that high-stakes tests can be stressful and taxing on a student. SATs, Subject Test, and AP Exams are just a few standardized tests college-bound high school students stress over. If tests fill you with anxiety, it’s important to try various methods to manage it. Otherwise, how can you possibly expect to earn the high scores your dream college wants? While you may not ever be totally stress-free during a test, it’s essential that your anxiety does not get in the way of your focus come test day. Consider trying some of these tips to help manage your test anxiety and enhance your exam performance.
This might seem simple, but a lot of test anxiety from being unprepared, rather than the actual test itself. Preparation starts way in advance, not the night before. To avoid cramming for big tests; you should study a little bit daily or weekly over a long period of time instead. This will help you learn and retain information more effectively, and avoid the stress that accompanies procrastination. Practice tests proctored by a test prep tutor is a great way to become comfortable in a testing setting while familiarizing yourself with the test’s material.
Once you’ve started studying, begin researching the structure of the test. Make sure you know the time allotted for the test, the types of questions on the test, and any required testing materials. The night before the exam, make sure you get your beauty sleep and invigorate yourself with a balanced breakfast in the morning. It’s also wise to arrive at the test site early and pick a comfortable seat. Furthermore, knowing the exam basics can help ease nerves the day of the exam and make you feel more comfortable
A lot of people experience test anxiety due to the timed nature of the exam. Students become stressed when they only have a set amount of time they can allot to each question and each section. Practice tests can help students get used managing times and finish the sections quicker. Need extra practice bolstering your time management skills? Try timing yourself for homework assignments, writing essays, reading or solving math problems. If you become accustomed to performing under a time limit, you’ll feel more comfortable on the day of the test.
If you feel like you spend too much time on a question, move on. A lot of standardized tests do not deduct points for unanswered questions. In that case, it’s not smart to waste a lot of time on a difficult question. You can always return to that question if there’s some time left at the end of the section. Another helpful tip is to avoid looking at classmates around you when taking tests. Everybody works at their own pace, so don’t worry if it looks like someone is way ahead of you- it does not always mean they’re right.
Calm down and take a deep breath. If you find anxiety creeping up during the exam, focus on your breathing. Many people feel a great sense of peace by taking a deep breath and shifting their focus entirely on breathing. Once you’ve settled down, return your focus to the exam. Along with taking a deep breath, think positively. It’s important to remember that while the test is important, it isn’t worth having a full-fledged anxiety attack over. If you feel like anxiety got the best of you on test day, you can always retake the exam at another day. If anything, you can use the first test as a learning opportunity to see which anxiety reducing techniques worked best.
Mindfulness meditation is a popular technique used to manage anxiety, which you can also apply to test-taking. Try meditating when you feel a wave of anxiety approaching right before the exam. This will help relax both your body and mind while shifting your focus from the exam to your inner peace. Breathing exercises may help relax you during the exam, but meditation is a great way to relax beforehand. Many apps, as well as YouTube, have videos that offer free guided meditation.
Taking tests can be challenging and induce crippling anxiety. By developing anxiety management techniques and being prepared, students can feel a lot more confident on test day. Stay positive, and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Remember that all you can do is your best; so be confident and be mindful that no one test can define you as a student!