Q. How can I overcome test anxiety?
Do you freeze when it comes to tests? The best way to remain cool during exam time is to enter the test well prepared.
For even more information, watch the video below and check out our Test taking tips on the Student Success guide.
Approach the exam with confidence
- Use strategies to personalize success: visualization, talking to yourself, practice, team work, journaling, etc.
- View the exam as an opportunity to show how much you've learned and to receive a reward for the studying you've done.
Choose a comfortable location for taking the test
- Choose an area with good lighting, a comfortable seat, and minimal distractions.
- If you live with others, try to take online tests when no one else is home, or let the others in your home know that you are testing so they do not bother you during the test.
Allow yourself plenty of time
- This is for preparing for the test as well as in taking it. During the test, make sure you don’t rush through, even if it is a timed exam.
- Use your full allotment of time in a timed exam.
Avoid thinking you need to cram right before the test
- Generally speaking, very little is retained from cram sessions.
Strive for a relaxed state of concentration
- Try to make sure you don’t have other issues on your mind when you’re taking the test.
- Give yourself a couple minutes before the exam to sit quietly.
Go into the exam well rested
- Try to take the test at a time when you’re awake and alert.
- It will also lower the anxiety of trying to stay awake during the quiz.
Don't take the exam with an empty stomach
- Fresh fruits are often recommended to reduce stress, and fructose will fuel optimal brain function.
- Eating prior to the test will also lower the distraction of hunger during testing.
During the test
- Read the directions carefully.
- Budget your test-taking time.
- If you go blank, skip the question and go on.
- If you're taking an essay test and you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind.
- Don't panic. Take slow, deep breaths.
- Pause. Think about the next step and keep on task, step by step, question by question.
- Use positive reinforcement for yourself. Acknowledge that you have done—and are doing—your best.
- Realize that anxiety can be a “habit,” and it takes practice to use it as a tool to succeed.
After the test, review how you did
- List what did not work for improvement.
- List what worked, and hold onto these strategies. It does not matter how small the items are—they are building blocks to success! Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle.