Tests are something that we can never escape. We think we escape them in high school only to encounter them in college and even after we can still come face to face with these treacherous obstacles. Now even though they can be really horrible and cause us a lot of stress, they are not something to fear and dread and work ourselves into a nervous frenzy over. There are, in fact, tips and tricks that one can implement when taking tests. This is for both weeks before the test and minutes before the test, as well as during. I happened to write an exam just this morning and anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I get quite anxious when it comes to that dreaded “T” word but because of this, I have learnt many ways to prepare for tests, and deal with the day of the test. So if you’re a nervous test taker like me, or simply want any tips you can add to your own repertoire, here is my guide for how to handle tests.
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Before Test Day
My dad always tells me that there are only two times when it comes to tests: before and after. Once the day arrives, there is nothing you can do to get time back so whether you have a few days or a few weeks, ensure that you use that time carefully and effectively.
The key to success with anything is having a solid plan. You should know when your test is, so work with that date and create a study schedule for yourself. If you know that you have one week until the big day, then don’t save all the work for the night before. Get your notes in order first, then do what you find challenging. That way you have the whole week to come to grips with what you find hard instead of freaking yourself out when the test is just hours away. Also, by planning ahead you ensure you cover everything so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.
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Break it up
You can’t conquer everything in one day, trust me I have tried. So break it up (if you can, if your test is tomorrow and it got sprung on you today then that is horrible and you just have to get it all done). Split up your work so that you cover everything required with enough time for practice tests, extra revision or whatever else you need to fit in. By breaking it up, you also ensure that you don’t hit disaster if you miss a day of work (either from being sick or simply things cropping up).
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Don’t over work
Now this is something that took me quite some time to realise because I am stubborn and like to get as much done as humanly possible. The simple truth is that you need to take a break sometimes – as this allows your brain to relax and so that you can get more work done afterwards. Try working in intervals, taking short breaks in between, and you’ll find that your studying becomes a lot more effective. Taking breaks aren’t a bad thing, but also don’t let your break time creep into your study time.
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To avoid stressing yourself out, make sure that you get everything ready and packed the night before. If you need to bring specific things, then make sure you have them all packed before you go to bed so that you don’t get into a frenzy the morning of. Another thing to make sure you do is get a good night of sleep. It’s not going to do you any good to turn up for your test tired or groggy so get organised and get your z’s.
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It is the big day and you have done all you can to prepare. Now the trick is not freaking yourself out and ensuring that you are in the best headspace and have done all you have in order to have a good test.
You should have everything you need packed and ready to go from the night before. Good. That is one less thing that can stress you out before a test. Make sure that you have something to eat before you leave though, just to make sure that you have some fuel in your system and don’t end up feeling light-headed or nauseous right when you are hitting your groove answering questions. Lastly, make sure that you get to wherever you need to be on time. There is nothing worse than arriving to a test late and sometimes they may not even let you in. Factor in anything that could delay you and leave early – there is nothing wrong with sitting outside for ten minutes if it means that you don’t have to stress about being late.
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This is very important, and while it may be challenging, it is essential to doing well in your test. Nerves can play a big part in your abilities so doing your best to stay calm will really help. Whether it is deep breathing, five minutes of yoga or visualisation, try stay calm and everything else will just fall into place.
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During The Test
During the test, there is nothing that you can do but write it but there are ways to do so that ensure you reflect how much work you’ve put in. It’s important to make sure that you give yourself the best chance you can to do well.
Do what you know first
This is a good trick and most teachers will tell you this. By doing the stuff that you know first, you get into a rhythm for answering the questions, but you also set yourself up with confidence that you know what you are doing. If you get stuck on a question you don’t know, then move on to something you do know so that you don’t interrupt your groove and stress yourself out. That way, you can come back to the ones that you left out without jeopardising missing out ones that you could have gotten marks for.
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Don’t stress yourself out
Again, and I can’t say it enough, stress is a huge factor when it comes to test taking. If you don’t know the answer to a question, then move on! Don’t let not knowing the answer freak you out because getting into that negative headspace could cause you to make silly mistakes. Just stay calm and remember that you did all the hard work – now all you have to do is write it down.
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Watch your time
If you know that you are a person who takes longer on a specific type of question, then ensure that you leave yourself enough time for them. Don’t waste time on questions unnecessarily because time is the one thing you can’t get back. The trick for this is knowing how you work so that you can ensure that you maximise your time and don’t end up frantically trying to fill in answers in the last two minutes.
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Have faith in yourself
This is my last tip and probably the most important. You need to have faith in yourself and your abilities. You’ve put in all the time and effort to get the mark you deserve, so believe in yourself and you’ll get it. If this is hard (like it is for me) then listen to your friends and family. My brother used to tell me before a test: “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believes in you.” and surprisingly it helped. Your friends and family will want nothing but the best for you so have faith in their belief in you and have faith in yourself. You can do it
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So there you have it. Test taking can be a really stressful experience so don’t let it get the better than you. These tips have helped me get through many tests with substantially less stress (yes I was still stressed but being nervous just means that you care) so if you try all of these or just use one or two, I hope that they help you have a more relaxed test taking experience where you rock it and get rewarded for all your hard work. If you have any of your own tips you’d like to share, I’d really love to hear them so please share them in the comments section. Thank you for reading the blog – I hope you enjoyed the post and found something helpful. Until next time …
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission