Most people don’t like taking exams and it can be a real problem for some. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans suffer from test anxiety. The problem can be especially acute if you’ve been out of school for a while.
The good news is that while we can’t make tests fun, there are ways to help take some of the stress away. Try the tips below and you’ll see a real difference. Everyone is different, so remember to figure out what works best for you.
Ask your teacher. One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is to simply ask your instructor what you should study. Most instructors are happy to give you guidance.
Don’t cram. Waiting until the last minute is guaranteed to cause stress, which can lead to poor performance. Study early and often. First, try to stay on top of the material from the very beginning of the term. If you’re already in the habit of studying, preparing for an exam won’t be a burden. Second, schedule your sessions ahead of time. It’s better to study for an hour a day for a week than ten hours the night before the exam.
Take care of yourself. This one seems obvious, but it’s really important. Your brain can’t work well unless you take care of your body. Make sure you’re doing the basics: eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and moving your body. It really makes a difference!
Take breaks. Don’t expect to be able to sit in a chair and stare at a book for two hours straight. Take a break. Everybody is different. Some of us need a break every 20 minutes, others once an hour. Figure out what works for you and then take a minute to stretch or get a drink of water in between studying.
Create some peace and quiet. This means no loud music, no TV and no internet. You don’t have to sit in a blank soundproof box to study, but you’re not going to retain the information if you are distracted.
Make flashcards. It’s a great way to help you memorize information or make sure that you grasp the concepts. The act of writing the study material down also reinforces it in your memory.
Be (a little) afraid. It’s a misconception that people only do their best when they’re calm. Some fear or anxiety can help. Fear or anxiety can create motivation to check over your work. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re nervous. Remember, it’s normal and can help.
For more information about this blog or others please contact Sullivan and Cogliano Training Centers at 888-872-4677 or visit us at www.sctrain.edu
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