Tips to reduce your test stress

When midterm and final exams roll around, it’s easy to let the stress hinder your performance.

However, if you follow these techniques, they will help you drastically reduce your anxiety so you can do your best during the test.

Before the test:
• Keep up on your classes every day to avoid last minute cramming.
• Know where and when the test will be held, and know what resources you can bring with you.
• Take care of your physical self when you are studying – don’t skip sleep the night before to cram, take deep breaths to calm and center yourself, don’t overindulge in “energy” drinks, stay hydrated and eat well-balanced meals the day prior to your exam.
• Stop studying at least an hour before the test so you can relax, regroup, and re-energize.
• Don’t talk to your classmates about the exam right before you take it as it may make you more nervous and anxious.

During the test:
• Read over the test first and plan your approach so you have adequate time to complete it.
• If you go blank on one question, skip it and go to another one. Inactivity wastes time and working on another part of the test may spark your memory.
• Read the directions carefully and focus on the test questions – don’t fret, worry, or blame yourself about what you didn’t do to prepare. Do what you can right now.
• Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification from the instructor if needed. It is better to know what is expected than to spend energy worrying about it.
• Change an answer only when you are absolutely certain. In a testing situation, your first instinct is usually the right one.
• If you have essay questions, make a brief outline or jot some notes down before you start writing so that you proceed in a logical and clear fashion. You will also be more likely to include all of the points you want to make if you jot them down first.
• Take any remaining time and review your exam, making sure you have answered all the questions (any on the back of the page?). Check spelling and grammar if there are essay questions.
• Remember your relaxation techniques if you start to tense up during the test – briefly close your eyes, stretch your neck and shoulder muscles, breathe deeply and slowly.