Thursday, March 28, 2013

Practical Tips for Reducing Test Anxiety

Practical Tips for Reducing Test Anxiety

Study Effectively:
     1Study in a quiet, neat, uncluttered, distraction free place.
       2. Make sure notes are legible, and easy to follow  
          3. Set up a study schedule. Factor in breaks (at least every 30 minutes, if not 15 minutes). Get up, stretch, get a snack. Include a test-free activity about every two hours or so, to give your brain a break to process information.
         4.When possible, study when you are most alert & feel awake. Could be at night or morning, whenever you are most able to focus.
         5. Teach yourself to pace your study time. For example, after 90 minutes of math work, take a 30 minute break doing something FUN.
         6. Talk out loud while solving problems or learning information. Saying & hearing information helps to embed it in memory.
         7. Ask yourself what you problem/questions you are most afraid of-and study that material more.
         8. But review previously learned material. It will help build your confidence & that way you will have a good base of material.
         9. DO NOT CRAM THE NIGHT/DAY BEFORE. You will stress yourself out more and won’t learn any new material.
         10. Reward yourself when you feel you’ve worked hard or learned a concept.

Reducing Anxiety about Test-Taking:
       1. Take care of yourself.  DO NOT SKIMP ON SLEEP, EVER! Get at least 8 hours a night…especially before the test. If you have trouble sleeping try using melatonin to help you sleep about a week/few days prior to the test (so you know how it affects you). Eat healthily and work in some physical exercise every day. Exercise helps burn off stress & excess energy.
         2. Take practice exams.
         3. Come prepared to the test with all necessary supplies, etc.
         4. Dress comfortably.
         5. Remember to check yourself & relax as necessary.
         6. Use positive self-talk. “I got this!” “ I can do this.” I KNOW this.” Find a sort of “mantra” and say it over & over until you believe it. Practice it during studying.

Effective Test Taking Strategies:
       1. Make sure you read/listen carefully to instructions. If you can, write down most important parts or underline them (especially pay attention to “not” or any/all types of words
       2. Do a “brain dump.” Write down all the info you are afraid you will forget. For example, write down a formula that is right on your mind or names of people. That way you will have it down if you freeze.
       3. Preview the test.  Look over the sections of the test. Think about the total amount of time that you have to complete the test.  Look at the point values that you can earn on each section of the examination.  
       4. In multiple choice, don’t get sidetracked looking for patterns (like the last 3 answers have been C, so it must be C).
       5. Don’t rush. If you find yourself rushing, put your pencil down, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, repeat your mantra, do this 3-4 times, then resume the test
       6. Unless you have evidence otherwise, go with your 1st response. Don’t 2nd guess yourself.
       7. Save hardest ones for last.
       8. Use time leftover to check answers about which you were unsure.

Dr. Sarah Graves, LSSP


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