Your preparation for the test should include learning what the test covers and study areas you donít know very well. It should also include using strategies for reducing test anxiety as part of your studying.
Staying organized includes creating a clear, targeted study plan for the weeks leading up to the test and sticking to that study plan.
Practice includes, well, practicing for the test: The more you are accustomed to sitting for a period of time, answering test questions, and pacing yourself, the more comfortable you will feel when you actually sit down to take the test.
How Do You know Whether You Have Test Anxiety?
Test anxiety can strike you in two places: in your head, and in your body.
Sign of test anxiety in your head may include:
Mental blank-out Racing thoughts
Difficulty concentrating Negative thoughts
Knowing the answers after the test, but not while taking the test
Signs of anxiety in your body may include
Nausea Cramps Faintness
Sweating Headache Dry mouth
Increased breathing Fast heartbeat Tense muscle
How To Cope With Test Anxiety?
Replace self-defeating ideas that contribute to test anxiety with rational alternatives. Rehearse the alternatives. Donít blow things out of proportion and distract yourself from the test.
1. Pinpoint the self-defeating thoughts, especially thoughts that blow things out of proportion.
2. Replace these self-defeating thoughts with helpful thoughts.
3. Imagine yourself in the testing situation and practice thinking the helpful thoughts.
4. Reward yourself for thinking the helpful thoughts. For example, say to yourself "Thatís much better. Now I can get back to the test," or say, "See, I donít have to be victimized by self-defeating thoughts. I can take charge of my thoughts." After the test, think something like, "I did it! The test is finished and I feel much better than I felt before. I didnít let self-defeating thoughts distract me, and I may have gotten a better grade as well."
One of the physical aspects of anxiety is muscle tension. Relaxing your muscles during a test can also lower test anxiety. One popular method of relaxing muscles is progressive relaxation. There is no time to teach yourself progressive relaxation during a test. Instead, you can practice progressive relaxation during leisure periods. Then you can allow feelings of relaxation to flow into your body during tests and on other stressful occasions.
1. Breathe only through your nose.
2. Take equal amounts of time to breathe in and out.
3. Inhale and exhale continuously and leisurely. For example, count "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three," and so on as you inhale and exhale.
4. To breathe diaphragmatically while sitting in a chair, monitor your chest with a hand to help you deter it from rising and falling. Monitor your abdomen with the other hand to check that itís rising and falling. When your breathing is calm and regular, return to the test.
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