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Tips to Beat Test Anxiety

Planning ahead of time

  • Attend every class...after all you paid for them!
  • Study and review daily to keep the information fresh.
  • Keep up with reading and assignments.
  • Work with a classmate to discuss difficult material or quiz each other.
  • Go to your professor's office hours...that's why they have them!
  • Work on different problems rather than the same problem many times.
  • Take an old exam to practice time management and get exposure to exam-type problems. 

Know the location

  • If you are not taking the exam in your classroom, visit the new location to become more familiar with it.
  • Do homework in the classroom—associate the room with what you know.
  • Is the room warm or cold?  Dress comfortably in layers.
  • Notice distractions like hallway traffic, sunlight or other noises.

Right before the exam

  • Be positive.  Feeling good translates into confident thoughts and will help ensure you put forward your very best. 
  • Get a good night's sleep.  Rest is always better for recall than sleep deprivation.  
  • Don't study right up to the exam time.  Take an hour to relax, compose yourself, and reflect on what you know.
  • Take a brisk walk to get your juices flowing, help you focus, and release any tension.
  • Eat a healthy and light meal for energy.

During the exam

  • Sit where you are comfortable.
  • Make sure you can see a clock.
  • Read all the instructions.  If they do not make sense...ask.
  • Quickly scan your entire test to get an idea of the types of questions and how many there are to answer.
  • Check to see the points allocated to each problem.
  • Budget your time to have time to get to each question.
  • Answer questions you know first—don't worry about going in order.  By answering ones you know, you'll gain confidence.
  • If you get stuck, take a deep breath, close your eyes and visualize the problem.  Or better yet, move on and come back.
  • Do as much of a problem as you can...partial credit is still points toward your final score!
  • Give yourself at least 5 minutes at the end to look over your test to make sure you didn't miss anything or make any trivial mistakes.

After the exam

  • Relax.  Chat with friends, exercise, watch a favorite show—do what you need to do to unwind.
  • When you get the test back, go over it.  See what you got right, and what you got wrong.  Ask the professor if you are unsure, and who knows, maybe you will receive a few more points once you talk to them and explain your reasoning.  
  • If you are concerned about your score and what you have learned, consider signing up for a tutor.