Test Taking Strategies

You prepared for this test all night, you knew all of your facts, but now you can’t remember any of them.  This feeling of hopelessness makes you panic even more.  What could you have done to fix your anxiety?

  • Try to be well prepared for the test ahead of time.
  • Study in increments. Study for an hour, take a break, etc. These study breaks will help alleviate the stress and cement what you learned into your mind.
  • Give yourself sample tests beforehand to see whether you are ready.
  • Get enough sleep before the test. Without sleep and a healthy diet, your body will fight against you, no matter how much you have prepared.
  • While you wait for the test, practice positive thinking. Whenever you start to despair, think about how well you prepared yourself.  You’ve got this!
  • Before falling asleep the night before the exam, compile anything that you may need for the next day.  Set out your tools for the exam: paper, pencil, pen, calculator, etc.  Set out any clothes, find your car keys, etc.  Stressing about small things - like where your pencil is, or being on time to the exam - makes stress start to accumulate.
  • Double check the time and location of the test.  Set your alarm clock. If you have trouble waking up, set your alarm several times.
  • Try and arrive early.
  • Don’t try to zip through the exam. Read any instructions carefully. If there is some information you are afraid you are going to forget, quickly jot it down when you begin the test. That way you don’t have to worry about forgetting it, which usually causes you to forget it anyway.
  • If you get stuck, don't panic; move on to a question that you can answer. You can always go back.
  • If you find that you have not accurately prepared yourself for the exam, do not panic. Chances are you do know some of the material. Just relax and do your best. 

You can take control of test anxiety so that your performance on a test reflects your real standing in that course. If excessive levels of test anxiety persist, however, talk to a counselor for some specialized help. Our College Counseling Office is always available for students.