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Coping with Test Anxiety

Coping with Test Anxiety

Author: Meghan Hatalla

It's normal to be a littler nervous for a test--whether it's your driving test, ACT, the Monday math quiz, or LSAT--but it's how you deal with that nervous feeling that can make the difference. This packet aims to help you calm your nerves before and during the test.

There are two types of anxiety when it comes to tests: knowing you are unprepared (a rational kind of anxiety); or, despite being prepared, you still blank out, panic or overreact. No matter what your personal preferences are, you can still use some common tactics to battle anxiety, and stop it from setting in and affecting your test-taking performance.

1. Before the test - Best practices
2. During the test - Best practices
3. After the test - RELAX.

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Before the Test

Strategies & tips to use before the test:

Slide 2: Prepare!
Slide 3: Stay positive =]
Slide 4: Be healthy--there is life after the test
Slide 5: How to handle the morning of the test

During the Test

Basic Strategies:

Read the instructions twice, and read the entire test through before starting.

Essay questions: create an outline for yourself, and begin your answer with a summary sentence.

Short answer questions: Answer only what is asked, and if proper terminology evades you, use your own words.

Multiple choice questions: read all the answers, and delete the most obvious one first (rely on your first responses with these questions; beware of tricky words like "only," "most" or "usually").

Don't rush; be aware of the time, and if you're running low, answer the questions of which you're most confident.

Recheck your answers only when you're finished...and only if you aren't anxious.


Control Anxiety:

Stay focused on the test; tell yourself to be nervous after the test.

Don't think about how fast anyone else is going, or wonder about their performance.

Relax; take deep breaths and loosen your muscles when you feel tense.

If you really need to take a break, get up--break your pencil lead and go sharpen it; ask to go to the bathroom or ask the teacher a question.

Possible Cure for Test Anxiety

A little jarring, but this video helps take your mind off the test and also imparts a reminder to your brain to literally "disconnect" from anxiety and free up resources to focus on the test.

After the Test

So: who just made it through a test and managed their anxiety?

Two Thumbs - This Guy

Now that you've made through the test, treat yourself to a reward! Don't jump straight back into studying; your brain deserves a break, too.