Reducing Test Anxiety

Useful Links:

So most of the content in these two links are probably already known to most of you. However, I think a lot of us tend to forget about some of these tips or dismiss them as impossible to do or too much of an effort. For example, say you’re about to take a final for one of your hardest classes. It’s two weeks before the test, and you’re wondering if you should start studying but end up not doing it. Then it’s one week before, and you decide to study a bit. You suddenly realize you have other classes you’re about to take a final for, stress over it all, and cram for all of your classes at once. You’re starting to drink more and more caffeine in order to stay up. The day before your first final, you’re exhausted, wanting to go home and get this over with, and have prepared yourself for the worst grade possible. By the time you’re taking the test, your mind keeps wandering off, you’re finding it difficult to process the questions, and you start feeling rushed, thinking you’re pressed for time on finishing. The most important thing I would pull out of these two articles are:

1. Don’t cram. It’s better to sleep earlier because you won’t be able to recall anything if you study with a tired mind, where you’re falling asleep every few minutes and trying desperately to stay awake.

2. Don’t stay up late and get less than 8 hours of sleep. They say it feels like you’ve slept several more hours if you sleep at 10, rather than 11 or 12. It’s only a one-or-two-hour difference, but it means the whole world once you’ve woken up the next day.

3. Don’t drink a lot of caffeine or soda in order to stay awake.

4. Don’t prepare yourself for the worst before you take a test. It may make you feel as if there’s less pressure on you, but there’s a good chance you’ll also feel, “Eh, it’s fine if I get a bad grade. I don’t care anymore.” Instead you should think to yourself, “This test will be difficult, but I can handle it and manage to at least pass.” This gives you a sense of how difficult the test may be, but also gives you self-confidence in that you believe in your own capabilities and in the ways you have been preparing for this exam.

5. Don’t underestimate nor overestimate the test. This tip coincides with the one in number four.

I realized in class today that I was lacking in much-needed knowledge for future AP English tests. My teacher gave us an AP prompt and told us to use an Honors/AP reading level novel or play in order to write a strong thesis (we aren’t writing essays yet, he’s taking baby steps with us). When he said this, I drew a blank and couldn’t remember if I had read anything outside of class that would be worthy of an AP essay. I began to wonder if I was ready to take on such a difficult course the following year, since I hadn’t really been reading difficult, thought-stimulating novels. And now that I’m thinking about this, I realize it’s important to not stress over an exam that will be taken in over a year from now. Right now, I should focus on preparing for it. So all the things I listed above that should be taken as tips for preparing for an exam, both physically and mentally, should be taken into consideration when preparing for a difficult course or AP test, which are more of a long-term problem that you spend almost a year on preparing for. Try to think of future struggles realistically.


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