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Many students report the following before and during a test/exam

  • Memory blanks on information you have studied
  • Fear of failing the test
  • Heart beat increases, shortness of breath, sweating
  • Cannot understand the question
  • Distractions, lack of concentration

Here are some tips for writing your best test:

1. Start preparing early

Lack of preparation is the most common cause of test/exam anxiety.  Set up a study schedule at least three weeks before your first exam.  You may need to start studying even earlier depending on the subject and other commitments.  Planning ahead prevents the need for last minute cramming which is a major cause of test anxiety.

2. Sleep well

Regular sleep is one of the best ways to control stress and remember information.  Try to keep a regular schedule for bed time and wake time.  Students who follow a regular sleeping pattern have been shown to perform 30% better than students who stay up late or get up exceptionally early to study.

3. Caffeine and Sugar intake

Do not increase or decrease the amount of coffee, tea, or cola you normally drink because your body is accustomed to getting a certain amount.  Keeping things in your life as stable as possible during test/exam time is very important.

4. Calm down and embrace the stress

If you feel your heart beat and breathing rate increasing do not panic.  This is a natural response for your body.  It is preparing you for the test by supplying your brain with the extra oxygen you are going to need to write the test.  Take slow deep breaths and visualize the oxygen going to your brain to help you perform well on the test.

5. Review the night before

The night before the exam review the main ideas and themes.  Hopefully by this time you have studied and know the material.

6. Aim to do your best

Think positive.  Turn off any negative thoughts and focus on what you know.