Dealing with the Test Stress

Tests and quizzes are staples of academic life. They’re also the bane of every student’s existence. For some, test anxiety is a powerful motivator to study effectively and succeed. For the many, however, the anxiety can be extremely detrimental to their academic success. This week we will be discussing some ways to overcome that anxiety and be more effective during study sessions.

First, we’ve all experienced the mad cramming that goes on the night before a test. Of course, many of you have likely noticed how much cramming the night before seems to increase stress rather than alleviate it. Research has shown that it’s more effective to cram earlier in the day or two nights before a test. Use the night before to do something fun (preferably something that will make you laugh.) Taking time to relax and laugh will give your brain time to transfer everything you’ve studied from your short term to your long term memory, and will relieve a great deal of stress, leaving room for clearer thinking when you’re taking your test.

Of course, what’s most effective is to be continuously studying along the way. Take time, even just 10 minutes, to review what has been taught on a regular basis. This will decrease the amount of time you feel you need to cram right before the test.

Be sure to get a good amount of sleep the night before as well. I know, we’ve said this in previous posts but it truly is important. You’ll be much more likely to ace a quiz or a test if you get a quality night’s sleep than if you stay up late cramming. Remember, sleep allows information in your short term memory to be transferred to long term. It has also been known to decrease anxiety and improve focus, both of which are very beneficial in test taking.

The morning before you take a test be sure to have a healthy breakfast, particularly something with protein. It will increase your energy and focus and lower the amount of anxiety you feel as you approach the exam. If you are allowed, bring a small snack in with you to keep your energy up and your brain active. Keep yourself hydrated and bring a water bottle in if allowed. There’s nothing worse than getting distracted during a test due to your own hunger or thirst.

Tests can be difficult and often overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. There are ways to overcome the stress and be successful. When we prepare ourselves effectively beforehand (both mentally and physically) exams can become, maybe not fun, but much more bearable and approachable. Try some of these tips out next time you have a test and see what works for you. Feel free, as well, to research more online regarding this topic. There are so many tips out there to help students overcome test anxieties. Find what helps you the most and utilize it.