It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious about different things that come up in our lives, and having these feelings surrounding tests is nothing to ignore. No matter if you are in grade school, college, or getting your doctorate, test anxiety can affect anyone. Our education can hold a lot of weight, and knowing that something is measuring how much you know is a pretty daunting idea. Wherever you are in your education, know that you’re not alone! Here I’ve compiled some tips and steps to help you cope with test anxiety. You’ve got this!
Before The Test
Make a study plan. Prepare and write down your plan of attack. How much time will you spend each day studying? What topic will you cover on which day? Be sure to spread the studying out over time to allow yourself to soak up the information while you are feeling most relaxed.
Find a way to relax and take your mind off the upcoming test the night before. Maybe a hot bath, reading a book you enjoy, or simply going to sleep early. Taking care of yourself and your mind right before the test will help you be in a positive state of mind and ready to take on the world!
Eat a meal before. Don’t let your test anxiety stop you from keeping your body fueled and hydrated. Drink water, coffee, or tea to help you feel awake and ready to go. Eat a meal that has a good balance of protein, fiber, and fat to keep you full.
Before you go in, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you’ve prepared for this and that you took care of your body and mind to make sure you are ready to do your best work possible. Take one last look at the information if that helps you, but you know yourself best. Avoid this if you think it will make you feel more stressed or anxious.
During The Test
As soon as you get your test, take a few deep breaths. Affirm yourself with positive self-assurances such as “I can do this,” “I have prepared for this,” and reminding yourself that your worth does not come from your performance. Close your eyes and take another breath before you open the test.
Before you start answering, flip through and read the question types and understand what lies ahead. This way, nothing on the test will surprise you, and it will help you to realize that you will tackle it one question at a time. Read through the directions, read through all answer choices on each question, and if it is open-ended, take your time. You are smart, and you are capable!
Once you have finished the test, read through it once or twice. Be sure that you answered each question and check your answers again to be sure that you feel confident. Hand in your test with confidence knowing that you did your best.
After The Test
First off, you’re done! It’s important to recognize that you’ve completed the test and that at this point it is out of your hands—it is no longer something you can control.
Distract yourself if necessary. If you can’t stop thinking about how you might have done, or still feel anxious, distract yourself with activities such as spending time with friends, exercising, or watching your favorite TV show. Try to keep your mind off the test and focused on what lies ahead.
Once you feel completely at ease, try looking back and assessing how it all went. Ask yourself, “Is there anything you can do next time to help yourself feel more prepared?” “Were there any tools that helped you, in particular, to retain information or feel more confident about it?” You can also prepare for the next test by coming up with a new study plan based on what worked or did not work before.
Thanks for reading!
I hope this helped you as you tackle your next big test. Good luck, and you’ve got this!
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This post was written in collaboration with Caroline Pitarque Johnson. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here.