24 Managing Test Anxiety

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Test-taking can be a stressful experience. How can you manage any anxiety that you’re feeling so it doesn’t negatively affect you?

Managing test anxiety starts at the beginning of the term by creating and following effective habits throughout the term, and in the weeks leading up to the test.  It also involves avoiding detrimental habits like cramming at the last minute, relying solely on memorization, and not prioritizing your mental and physical health.

What can you do on exam day to manage any jitters?

  1. Be well rested and avoid drinking too much coffee – caffeine jitters.
  2. Arrive early and take a moment to relax to reduce your anxiety.
  3. Avoid distractions including sitting near anything or anyone who distracts you.
  4. Listen carefully to instructions given by the instructor; then read the directions very carefully. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand the directions.
  5. As soon as the test begins, do a memory dump. Write down any relevant formulae or concepts.
  6. Before you start answering, if you can, read the entire test so you know what to expect and take note of the point value of each section.
  7. Do the easiest questions first then go back to the harder questions. This will help increase your confidence and may trigger your memory for other answers.
  8. If you find yourself beginning to panic, or feeling anxious, pause and take some deep breaths and exhale slowly.
  9. Focus on the questions by underlining key words in each question.
  10. Take your time and don’t race through the test.
  11. Use any extra time to check for errors, re-visit difficult questions, and proofread for grammar and spelling. Make sure you answered all the questions.
  12. Don’t change answers unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ve made a mistake. Your first response is more likely to be correct and second-guessing can lead to lower scores.

Try it!

Make a plan for test day:

Extend Your Learning

Explore the NSCC Libraries Study Skills Subject Guide for more resources and tips on managing test anxiety.


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