I hate tests- I always imagine myself completely failing and my instructor(s) barging into the testing center to berail me over my stupidity. Test anxiety is tough,mainly because you get yourself so worked up that failure is the only thing you can think about. But there are ways to battle and overcome test anxiety when you’re in college, and I’ve managed to get a handle on myself. Here’s how I do it.
Don’t study the day of your test. This sounds like a bad idea, but when you’re cramming for your test hours before you have to take it, what do you remember? Probably the very last thing you read or studied, and testing the day of your college test can truly just freak you out. Study lightly the day before, and remember this- you’ve been doing work on this entire test subject for the last month or so, and you’ve already got it down. You aren’t going to forget anything you’ve already learned in just a few days. Study the foggy stuff the day before, but don’t overwhelm yourself the day of. You won’t forget. Hell, you remember stuff from High School years ago. Why would your college test leave you blank?
Think of this when you feel so nervous about your college test that you just want to puke. What is the worst that could possibly happen? You fail? OK, that’s daunting enough, but you aren’t going to die, you won’t lose your job, your spouse won’t divorce you, your parents won’t disown you. Odds are, if you fail the test it’s because you don’t have the subject matter down to begin with, and if you fail the entire class, then you take it again. Big whoop. If you fail the test, you can still pass the class, and what are the odds of knowing nothing on your test when you’ve been going to class and doing homework this entire time? Put your anxiety to rest by knowing that nothing will actually happen to you if you fail the test. Really. The worst that can happen is you fail the entire class and then re-take it. Which you can do, and probably should, if you haven’t retained anything you’ve learned. So what? Knowing that you can fail the test and survive it gives you a clearer head and a more relaxed approach to taking it, and more likely than not, you’ll do way better than you thought you would.
Don’t wait until the closing date to take your test. Take it as soon as you can, so you don’t have the notion of missing your final testing date to pile up on top of your anxiety of actually taking your test to begin with. Take your test as soon as you are able, ready or not, and you won’t have to worry about rushing in during the final hour. Always keep in mind that you are testing on something you already learned, not something brand-new and unstudied. Your homework is study, your classroom lectures is study- take the test. You’re ready. Don’t put it off.
When taking the test, skip over stuff that looks foreign to you and do the work that you immediately know, and don’t second-guess yourself. The first answer is usually the right one. If you come across a topic or question that you aren’t sure about, skip it and do the stuff you know first. Sitting blankly at an unknown question brings up that anxiety again, and can make even the stuff you know as well as your own name look like an impossible task. I do this with my math tests- and surprisingly, the questions I don’t even know and save for last, I get right 80% of the time anyhow. Since I’ve already done the stuff I know, I am more confident with the “What the…?!” questions and am able to do them with more clarity. Do the easy stuff first, and if you have to guess at what you don’t know, compare the 3 questions you are befuddled with to the 25 you already got done. At this point, you can afford to guess. Calm down. You’ll do fine.
my own test anxiety