At CROSSWALK, we see a number of students that struggle with test taking. Many bright, articulate and well-rounded students freeze up during test time.
There is something about a test environment that creates nerves and lowers self-confidence.
So if you are struggling with test taking, try some of these techniques to improve your results:
1) Keep the Confidence Up: build yourself up before, during and after the test. Tell yourself you are just as smart, or smarter, than the next student. Often times, test taking is more about your internal confidence than your knowledge. This is most true during standardized tests. 2) Don’t Spend Too Much Time on One Question: this obviously depends on the test, but the advice is applicable in a lot of settings. If you cannot develop a good answer quickly, move on to the next question. You can always go back, so score points where you can. Taking too much time will also lower your self-confidence. 3) Stay Calm: part of successful test taking is the ability to stay calm and focused for the entire time. Take deep breaths and eliminate any extraneous thoughts. 4) Make Sure You Are Answering the Question: sounds obvious, but may test takers don’t read all of the directions or they don’t understand precisely what is being asked. Many teachers want to ensure you know the material, so they will plant traps or tricks to catch people that don’t read the directions or understand the question. Take the time to understand exactly what is being asked. 5) Double Check Your Answers: this is the oldest trick in the book, but extremely necessary. When reviewing tests the next day, many students find silly errors or slips that could have easily been avoided if they checked their work. So take the extra time to check your work.
These are just some techniques to overcome test anxiety. Ultimately it comes down to preparation, focus, confidence and practice. Tell yourself you are good test taker, study for the test and practice the good habits listed above and test anxiety will be a thing of the past.