Reducing Test Taking Anxiety
It's normal for kids to get nervous before a significant test. This is actually a good thing. That adrenaline boost can be helpful, but it can be hard to obtain and maintain that perfect level of nervousness. Test anxiety is when a student excessively worries about doing well on a test. This can become a major hindrance on test performance and cause extreme nervousness and memory lapses among other symptoms.
The following are tips on reducing test taking anxiety.
• Being well prepared for the test is the best way to reduce test taking anxiety.
• Space out your studying over a few days or weeks and continually review class material. Don't try to learn everything the night before.
• Try to maintain a positive attitude while preparing for the test and during the test.
• Exercising for a few days before the test will help reduce stress.
• Make sure you get your rest
Make sure you will be comfortable and alert on the day of the test. Get a good night's sleep the night before.
• Dress in layers
Dress comfortably in layers so that you can take clothes off or put them on, depending on the temperature of the room.
• Eat a healthy breakfast
Nutrition also influences how well children do on test; a good breakfast is important, but a large meal right before the test can be distracting and make you sleepy.
• Pack a snack
Even if you don't normally have a snack time during the school day, you may be allowed to have one if there's a break during the test. Pack a light nutritious snack, but avoid salty foods that may make you thirsty later in the testing session.
• Show up to class early so you won't have to worry about being late.
• Chew gum (if allowed) during the test to help relieve test anxiety.
• Stay relaxed, if you begin to get nervous take a few deep breaths slowly to relax yourself and then get back to work.
• Read the directions slowly and carefully.
• If you don't understand the directions on the test, ask the teacher to explain it to you.
• Skim through the test so that you have a good idea how to pace yourself.
• Write down important formulas, facts, definitions and/or keywords in the margin first so you won't worry about forgetting them.
• Do the simple questions first to help build up your confidence for the harder questions.
• Don't worry about how fast other people finish their test; just concentrate on your own test.
• If you don't know an answer to a question skip it for the time being (come back to it later if you have time), and remember that you don't have to always get every question right to do well on the test.
• Focus on the question at hand. Don't let your mind wander on other things.
• If you're still experiencing extreme test anxiety after following these tips, Remember to Take a deep breath.
If you are a very nervous test-taker, do deep breathing exercises before the test. You can take a deep breath and count to ten. Then take shorter deep breaths in between passages or sections of the test -- counting to three only. This exercise is fast and simple, but it really works! If you have test anxiety, keep reading for information on relaxation and visualization exercises you can practice to help calm yourself before stressful situations, like taking a test. If none of these techniques work for you, seek help from your school counselor.