Fall Preparation & Reducing Test Anxiety
Written by Julie M. Armenta M.A., Education & Family Specialist & Founder of
With fall coming, many students face a multitude of tests; both standardized and classroom-based. Preparing for these tests is not always as easy as studying your notes and working on review questions, though these practices are extremely important. Students often face anxiety about tests, and this anxiety can deeply impact their test preparation and performance. Below are some ways of dealing with this anxiety, and how to prepare for tests.
Avoid negative thoughts. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong with the test will increase your anxiety. Relax and try to have fun!
Start studying at least a week before the test. Even 15-20 minutes a day will help to keep the information fresh in your mind. Take those spare moments of brushing your teeth, curling your hair, and eating lunch, and turn them into active study time. Every little bit counts!
Create a schedule and stick to it. Repetition is a good rule of thumb. Remember: 1 class equates to 1.5 hours of study time each week. A normal schedule of 5 classes equates to 7.5 hours of study time per week at minimum.
Get a good night’s sleep and eat a power packed breakfast. Be on time. Being late will increase your anxiety, arriving early allows you time to relax before the test. Take a few minutes before the test to review, recite, and rehearse.
Bring all the materials you’ll need. Find out ahead of time what you will need. Pencil or pen? Are calculators or study guides allowed? Do you need scratch paper?
Avoid discussing the test with classmates the day of the test. This increases your anxiety. It is more productive to sit quietly and review your notes.
Act confident. Sit and stand with a calm, controlled posture. Slow down. Avoid expressing your nervousness. Be Confident!
Take the time to focus before the test. Arrive early and review your notes, or if this causes panic, focus on an item in the classroom, a pleasurable scene or activity, etc.
Listen carefully to the teacher or test-giver’s verbal instructions before the test is given out. This information is very important. Read all instructions slowly and carefully at least twice.
Ask for clarification on directions and questions if you need it.
If you are afraid you will forget something, write it down on the margin or back of the test as soon as you receive it.
Skim the test when you receive it to budget your time. Often teachers will indicate how many points each section is worth. It doesn’t make sense to spend 10 minutes on a 5 point question, and then not have time to write an essay worth 40 points.
Don’t panic if you can’t remember the answer. Answer the easy questions first, then go back and look at the harder ones. This will give you confidence, and can trigger your memory. If a problem is unclear, skip it and come back to it later. Sometimes you may find the answer in another question. Looking at the general topic may help you remember more specific facts that could answer the question. If all else fails, write down the closest thing you can think of. This will get you started in the right direction. Some teachers will give you partial credit for trying.
Learn some relaxation techniques you can use during the test to calm yourself. Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and visualization are skills that can relax you and help you perform better.
Most students can achieve higher test scores with the proper preparation and attitude. By utilizing these tips and thoroughly reviewing all course material, test scores can dramatically increase. You can do it!!!
Article written by
Julie M. Armenta, MA Founder & Education & Family
28062 Forbes Road, Suite B
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
949-367-WISE (9473) or 949-433-0898
Mrs. Armenta looks forward to working with your child on their academic journey, and having a successful school year. We offer accelerated studies, classes for credit, and remedial support. We provide Academic & Enrichment Programs year-round for all learning needs including Special Needs and Gifted programs, Pre-K thru Adult, Onsite/Offsite, 7 days a week, part-time or full-time with flexible scheduling. Call for support in all subjects in your home or at the academy. We guarantee success!