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Overcome Test Anxiety

“I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as nearly as possible reaching the high water mark of pure and useful living.”

-- Booker T. Washington

Keys to overcome your fear and gain confidence:

  1. Gain Perspective (clearly see the 'Big Picture')
    • You're not alone!
    • How much is this test really worth?
    • Keep score (keep track of grade feedback).
    • Honor and integrity first!
    • Interview an 'A' student.
  2. Prepare Wisely (study smarter, not just harder)
    • Study with others.
    • Do not procrastinate (avoid cramming)!
    • Have a good system of note-taking (use 3" margins).
    • Capture everything (use a recorder, if necessary).
    • Review your notes daily (filter key concepts).
    • Test yourself (Practice, Practice!).
    • Carry note cards.
  3. Relax and Release (use stress-reduction techniques)
    • Self-massage your neck and shoulder muscles.
    • Take a deep breath.
    • Visualize your favorite place.
    • Tense and relax muscle groups (isometrics).
    • Think of something funny or unusual.
    • Focus (be here now!).
  4. Don't be Fooled (avoid tricky answer choices)
    • Use a dictionary (if allowed).
    • Read questions carefully, completely.
    • Circle or underline key words (if allowed).
    • Try answering the question before looking at the answer choices.
  5. Let the thoughts flow (writing essays and short answers)
    • Be concise!
    • Be creative!
    • Add a personal touch.
    • Keep your pencil or pen moving!
    • Use a different 'lens'/perspective (close up, telephoto, wide angle).
  6. Pace Yourself (timing is everything!)
    • Don't waste time on any one question.
    • Don't "second guess" your instructor or read between the lines.
    • Answer every question, even if you have to guess.
    • Answer difficult questions, and then review them later, if you have time
    • Spend most of your time on questions that carry the greatest weight.
  7. Create Your Own Positive Test Environment
    • Testing Center tips & rules (see 'Testing Center' menu).
    • Know how to use the answer sheet (ask questions if you do not understand).
    • Avoid testing 'last minute' (don't come in the evening of the last test date).
  8. Avoid Guessing (but if you have to . . . )