During college, we all have to take tests, and test day can be very stressful! Here are some tips and tricks to help reduce exam stress which I’ve learned through experience.
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
Try to get a good night’s sleep before the test, and make sure to eat breakfast. A lack of sleep and a full stomach will both make it harder to concentrate. This is because the body uses sleep to store energy, and food to fuel your body. So if you’re not getting enough of either one, your body will not have enough energy to concentrate. I would recommend getting at least 8 hours sleep before test day, and then eating breakfast that will give you enough energy for several hours (protein is good here).
2. Don’t cram.
I know that many people tend to feel that cramming is the only way to learn material, but this is a big mistake. This is because when you cram, the material will go into short-term memory, and it will not stay there for very long. So if you have to take a test the next day, there is a good chance that you will not remember much of what you crammed. You need to study the material over the whole course duration, and then review it again the day before the test. A good way to study is to take notes as you read, and then review the notes the day before the test. If you get lost during your review, make flashcards out of them.
3. If you’re short on time, don’t try to finish all the questions
I know that it is tempting to try to finish all the questions, but if you’re running out time this is often a mistake. This is because if you try to finish all the questions, you will most likely miss the ones that were easy and you rushed through. Also, it is important to remember that you only get points for questions that you answer correctly, so if you skip a question, it doesn’t always matter. The best way to avoid rushing is to take your time and answer the questions that you know.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others.
It is easy to get caught up in trying to get a higher grade than other people, but it is important to remember that everyone learns at different rates. So if you see someone that got a better grade than you did, you should be happy for them. If you don’t understand the material, then try to learn from your mistakes, so you don’t make the same ones over and over.
5. Take a practice exam.
Taking a practice exam is a great way to help reduce exam stress. This is because a practice exam will give you an idea of how you will do on the real exam. A good way to take the practice exam is to wait until you have studied the material for about a week, and then take the practice exam. You should then review the questions that you got wrong, and that you had to guess on. If you don’t know the right answer, then take a look at the multiple choice answer choices, and see if you can figure out which one is the right one. If you still don’t know the answer, then guess, and move on to the next question.
6. Don’t panic.
Worrying too much can be dangerous, because you can start to think that you are going to fail. If you feel like you are panicking, then take a few deep breaths, and focus on the question that you are working on. If you are still panicking, then take a break, and go for a walk or something. The point is to stay calm, and focused.
7. Use flashcards to help you memorize the material.
This is a great tip for memorizing the material. All you need to do is write the question on one side, and the answer on the other. The point is to use flashcards to help you memorize the material. For example, if you have to memorize a math formula, then write the formula on one side, and the definition on the other side. There are a lot of phone apps available to help with this process too.
8. Stay away from substances.
Most psychoactive substances, with the exception perhaps of coffee, will negatively impact your performance if you take them before your exams. Don’t drink alcohol the night before a test, and don’t smoke. Other stimulants have not been proven to have any positive effects on exam performance, and certainly won’ make up for lack of study. My advice is to steer clear!
9. Study smart.
Stay focused, and try to study smart. For example, if you are doing flash cards, try to do them in a place where you won’t be distracted by anything. It is also important to make sure that your study location is well-lit, and that you are comfortable. If possible, it is also a good idea to take a small break every few minutes. Make sure that you study the material that you are having trouble with more than the material that you are good at.
10. Take care of yourself.
If you take care of yourself, then you will have more energy to study, and you will be less likely to get sick, or stressed out. This means getting enough sleep, and being aware of your mental health and stress levels. If you’re too stressed, take some time out, do something relaxing, and step away from your study. Come back when you feel rested and relaxed.
Exams can be stressful, but there are some things that you can do to reduce exam stress. These things have been very helpful for me over the past year and a half, and I hope they are helpful for you.