I have major test anxiety. The days before a test I’m always in my head about how I’m going to do or if all my studying is going to be worth it in the end. There have been times I’ve studied weeks before a test and failed, while there are times I’ve studied the night before and gotten 100%. Tests are my weakness in college (I’m more of a project kind of girl), they count for so many points and that seriously freaks me out. I’ve found a few ways to mentally prepare myself for exams so I keep my sanity, and also so I can get the best results!
Before The Test
Get Enough Sleep
It’s hard to take a test if you’re dozing off in the middle of it. When you take a test drowsy, you’re focusing more on staying awake then actually figuring out the answers to the questions. Getting enough sleep the night before makes sure you’re focused for the test ahead.
Eat A Filling Breakfast
The day of a test, I always make sure to get up early for a few things. To make breakfast, and to get there a bit early for some last minute studying. I’m a fan of Honey Nut Cheerios, Strawberry Poptarts, peanut butter toast, or bananas if I’m looking for something quick.
Make Sure You Have All Your Materials
Some of my classes require we buy our own scantron sheets or graphing paper for the tests. Make sure you have all of these materials packed away and ready so that you can just pull them out of your bag! I don’t think I’ve ever shown up to a test unprepared and you have no idea how much it aggravates me when people ask to borrow a pencil or a scantron. Yes, I still let them borrow stuff, but come prepared people! There may not be someone as nice as me to let you borrow a pencil one day!
Get There On Time
Getting to the classroom early ensures that I’m not missing the test, and gives me a bit of time to study beforehand. I tend to get very nervous before tests, and getting to the location early calms me down a bit knowing I’m on time and I’m not going to miss it.
Look Over Your Notes
I always study the night before the test, but looking over that material a few more time will hopefully lock some information in place. I never understood why people never looked over their material a few minutes before because I feel like that’s free time they’re wasting! They could potentially get another question or two right if they’d just spent that extra five minutes reviewing everything.
Don’t Pay Attention To Anyone Else
First off, go at your own pace. Whenever I was taking a test, I always got intimidated by the people who seemed to finish their test immediately or were working furiously. Don’t look at any of those people a just focus on yourself. I learned quickly that the more time you spend on a test, the more likely you are to get more answers right than the person who finishes in 15 minutes.
Start With The Easy Questions First
Sometimes I flip open a test and I freeze because I don’t know a lot of the answers. That’s okay! Instead of focusing your time on the hard stuff, skip it for now and move on. Get the easy stuff right! Just remember to go back and complete those questions! It always just makes me feel better doing the easy stuff first because it shows that I do know some of the information.
Re-Read The Questions If You’re Confused
So you get to a question. You read it, and you have no idea if the question was in English or not. Take a deep breath, and read it again, and again, until something starts to stick. Sometimes I miss things the first time I read a question because my brain is running a mile a minute. I read it a second time and I might recognize a term or a phrase that’ll trigger an idea or a solution.
Just this last Wednesday I took a Political Science final. My teacher loves to use opinion-based questions, meaning basically, “what answer is the best choice?”. I hate those because all the answers could potentially be right, but he wants the best answer. Although frustrating, I always make sure to clarify what he’s asking or what he means by the question. Sometimes just asking “hey, what do you mean by this?” can clear up a few loose ends.
Check Your Answers
Always go back through at the end and double check your answers, especially if you’re using a scantron. I tend to skip around when I take scantron tests. One wrong bubble circled, and my whole test could be off because I circled a bubble in a different row than I intended. It only takes a few minutes to make sure your bubbles match up to the numbered question.
Don’t Wait For The Test Score
Usually, my professors will post the scores to tests pretty quickly if it’s a multiple choice test. Potentially, I could know my score by the end of the day. Although you may be eager to know your results, don’t camp out at your computer. The best thing you can do is just go about your day and check at the end of the day. There’s no use of worrying about it after you’ve already turned in your test.
Talk To People Afterwards
You aren’t required to do this, but I always enjoy talking to a few people after the test to ask a few questions or just to bond over how hard the test was. It makes me feel good knowing that other people struggled with the same things I did to calm my nerves about the results.
How do you mentally prepare for an exam? Leave a comment below!