Share This

Strategies To Better Manage Test Anxiety

Evaluation and Testing
1

Strategies To Better Manage Test Anxiety

Strategies to Prepare Before the Exam

General Skills

  • Engage in regular physical exercise and maintain a balanced diet
  • Check vision and hearing
  • Use good study habits and strategies
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Organize material to be studied and learned
  • Use a step by step approach to build a strategy and not get overwhelmed
  • Manage outside pressures (success/failure consequences, peer pressure, competitiveness, etc.)
  • Reviewing your past performance on tests to improve and learn from experience
  • Prepare by taking practice exams

Week Before

  • Map out a routine
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Review practice questions
  • Simulate exam to help better manage test anxiety

Day Before

  • Approach the exam with confidence (view the exam as an opportunity to show how much you've studied and to receive a reward for the work you've done)
  • Be prepared (use a check list to review material and organize what you will need for the test tomorrow)
  • Give yourself enough time that morning (attend to things you need to do before the exam and try to get to the exam site a little early)
  • Avoid thinking you need to cram just before the test
  • Try to achieve a relaxed state of concentration
  • Avoid speaking with people who express negativity or who will distract your preparation
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam
  • Do not take the exam on an empty stomach (have an energizing snack, i.e. fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to stay away from heavy/processed foods)
  • Take a small snack with you (eat a healthy snack during a break to replenish energy and help take your mind off of your anxiety)

Skills to Use during the Exam:

  • Be on time
  • Go to bathroom prior
  • Do not drink too much coffee
  • Stay relaxed; you are in control (take slow, deep breaths and use relaxation techniques)
  • Change positions to help you relax
  • Focus on present, not past or future
  • Prepare for some anxiety (anxiety is a reminder that you want to do your best and it can provide energy and motivation)
  • Realize that anxiety can be a "habit" (it takes practice to use it as a tool to succeed)
  • Focus on questions, not fears (pause and think about the next step and keep on task, step by step)
  • Use positive self-talk (use positive reinforcement for yourself: acknowledge that you have done, and are doing, your best)
  • Challenge negative thoughts
  • Take breaks if possible
  • Budget your test taking time
  • Read directions and entire questions carefully (e.g. twice, aloud, silently)
  • Identify and mark clues (i.e. qualifiers and absolutes)
  • Approach each question as a separate test
  • Make an educated guess and go with first answer
  • Organize your ideas
  • 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 when other students start finishing the test. There's no reward for finishing first
  • Proofread at the end

Strategies to Use after the Exam:

If you prepared well and passed the test

  • Reward yourself (celebrate with friends/family, get yourself a present, etc.)

If you did not get the results you expected

  • Be proud of yourself for trying and for being on the road to overcoming this obstacle
  • List what worked and hold onto these strategies (it does not matter how small the items are: they are building blocks to success)
  • Identify what did not work
  • Ask questions for clarification and review any available feedback related to your performance on the test
  • Make specific plan for improvement (e.g. get tutoring, use a study group, attend workshops on topics tested on the exam, organized your time effectively)