College can be stressful; being away from home, surrounded by new people, and having difficult courses. Many students can find college to be overwhelming, especially their first year. A great way to reduce stress is reducing test anxiety. Minnesota State University defines test anxiety as “when your anxiety prevents you from showing the professor what you have learned and know. It is not the same as being anxious during a test because you are unprepared or do not understand the material.” Many students will study for countless hours and “blank out” once they receive a test.
Test anxiety can be reduced greatly by creating better study and testing skills. Not everyone has the same study habits, so do whatever you find works for you. I personally enjoy using flashcards to memorize terms, while I like group studying for complex concepts. Figure out what ways of studying you enjoy and that keep you engaged. Cramming is never the solution. Try to have planned study sessions and begin reviewing material two weeks before the test.
Eating habits, sleep, and relaxation techniques will have a huge impact on test anxiety. Often, students will feel the need to stay up late, drinking energy drinks, skipping workouts and meals, all to get an A. However every source on test anxiety claims, “do not cram!”
Here are some tips!
- Study in sessions. Always take breaks.
- Plan ahead in your studying. Take extra time to go over the hard stuff.
- Try not to simply memorize, but think about the big picture and how the information relates to the class.
- Always ask for help when you need it. Try going to your professor’s office hours or try Center for Academic Resources.
- If you start to feel stressed: take a walk, talk to friends, have a snack. Take your mind off of the exam for a while.
- Get good night’s sleep before the test.
- Eat a good meal before the test.
- Arrive prepared and early to the exam.
- Look over the test and answer easy questions first. Take extra time with difficult questions, but do not second-guess yourself.
- If you begin to feel panicked, try some deep breathing techniques.
For more ideas on reducing test anxiety visit the UNH CONNECT Program!
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