Test anxiety is common among many students. Even the well prepares students suffer from test anxiety. It is detrimental to the test-taking ability. But we can’t avoid tests, particularly in recent times, where tests in schools and workplaces are common and regular.
How to be a Better Test Taker
It ensures that the average performance of an individual is within the acceptable limits. The positive thing is that you can learn How to Be a Better Test Taker.
All students want to get into the exam room and pass the exam. However, the preparation and techniques applied contributed to the outcome.
Every student must learn some test-taking techniques. Students that have mastered these techniques do well in their exams. They can handle even the hardest exams with confidence.
The following techniques on how to be a better test taker will be useful if you practice them.
How to Be a Better Test Taker?
- Prepare in the right environment
One way to hack through something is to practice in a similar environment the event/test will take place.
When practicing for the exams, look for a calm and quiet space; it prepares your mind to function in a similar environment.
A few days before the exams, make it a habit to study on your desk;
Before every study session, set the goals you wish to achieve. Make the goals short and achievable. Setting aside one hour to study is very crucial; most exams take more than one hour. Your mind will be able to adapt to a quiet environment for long periods.
Make sure that you understand the content you have learned throughout the semester. There are no shortcuts to this. Spend many hours studying. You will retain some information after every study session.
- Eat healthily
The food we eat fuels our brain. Eating foods that are slow to digest releases the energy required tit h brain slowly. Avoid fast foods before taking a test. High-fiber and high-carb foods are good for brain function.
Oatmeal, whole grains, and pasta are examples of foods you should take before your tests. Ensure you have the right amounts of protein and vitamins
Sugary foods, potatoes, and any other food that converts quickly into glucose inject you with energy only for a short time. They burn out so fast; this can result in an energy crash. When this happens, you lose concentration and levels of anxiety rises.
Some people opt to take caffeine and nicotine as stimulants. It is not an excellent idea. These beverages will make you alert, yes. But too much of them can cause nausea, jitters, and confusion. Avoid taking them before your test. However, you can use them when preparing for the test since you have time to take care of the side effects.
The right foods and drinks will keep your body and brain energized throughout the test session.
- Get enough sleep
The worry of failing exams drives students to study all night before the test. However, scientific research links the lack of enough sleep to low test grades. Do not let the pressure from peers keep you awake the whole night.
Cramming the last minute levitates the anxiety. Avoid this by regular study routines.
Have a minimum of 6 hours of sleep. Experts recommend 8 hours to enable the brain to relax and refresh.
During the test, you need your brain and eyes at their optimum functionality. Getting your mind and eyes exhausted a few hours before the test will lower your performance.
There are a few tactics you should apply before you take enough rest. They include;
- Read the relevant content before you sleep. It helps you remember the material well.
- Do not wake up earlier than usual. Rapid-eye-movement boosts your memory. Waking up early, only disrupts the process.
- Do not be an all-nighter; you will exhaust your eyes and brain.
- Learn the format
Tests come in different formats. Essay formats are the most common. Taking tests that have different formats from the norm can cause psychological shock.
Find out from your professor the format of the test. It will help you practice and be ready psychologically. Understanding and practicing the formats helps to ease anxiety during the test day.
- Arrive early
Get to the exam room 15 minutes before the test commence. It gives you time to relax and calm your nerves.
A relaxed student can focus on the test ahead.
You will also have a chance to listen to the instructor and raise the critical questions.
Early birds have luck in choosing a comfortable seat. Choose a position away from students that may distract you.
Once you get to the examination hall/room, counter checks your writing tools. Ensure everything you packed is in perfect condition.
- Follow instructions keenly
Listen to the instructor before the test commence. It is common for examiners to change details on test papers. Inattentive students miss the instructions and end up failing the tests.
Seek clarification whenever you did not get the instructions.
Read the instructions on the test paper carefully before you commence to answering questions. They give you an insight on how to handle the test. It also lowers anxiety levels. Most test papers have more questions than you need to answer. The number of questions might scare you if you skip the instructions. Do not commence when you are not sure how many questions you need to answer.
Read each question carefully before writing your answer. Be keen on the grammatical formation and punctuations. Some simple details change the meaning of a sentence; when you miss them, you end up writing the wrong answers.
When the answers seem unclear, or you pinpoint two correct answers, reread the question, you might have missed something.
- Plan the allotted time
Once you get your test paper and identify the questions, you will answer, plan accordingly.
Assign each question a timeframe and stick to it. It will enable you to answer all your questions in time. Allocate a short time to simple tasks and a longer time to the difficult tasks. If you are taking longer than the allocated time to figure out an answer, skip the question. You will return when you finish the other questions.
Start with easy questions. They consume limited time. They also boost your confidence when answering tough questions.
Remember to spare some five to ten minutes to review the paper. It will help you correct any mistakes that may have occurred while answering the questions. During this time, you can answer the questions you skipped.
Being liberal with time at the beginning of a test will make you rust towards the end. It will result in anxiety and bad grades.
- Read long passages effectively
Long passages can be tricky. Pay attention to every word and sentence. First, understand the title of the passage; it prepares you for what to expect in the passage. Read the passage at least two times before proceeding to the questions.
Go through the questions derived from the passage without answering them. Reread the passage, now with the questions in mind. Underline the points that will help you answer the questions.
- Practice to eliminate anxiety
In most cases, a lack of or limited practice causes anxiety.
Make it a habit to test yourself on the content you learn from time to time. Continuous practice makes a student get used to taking tests. When the actual test is before them, they see it as the usual practice they take every day.
Most school libraries have old test papers. They are a useful resource for the students. Borrow the papers from the library and test yourself on several occasions. The practice trains your brain to retrieve information.
Another way to study is by finding a study buddy. One will come up with questions while the other tries to answer without referring to the textbooks or notes. Having a study buddy will help you increase your understanding of your weak areas. You can understand content from your buddy’s point of view.
Sometimes, a well-prepared student gets nervous. The feeling impairs their judgment and memory. It may result in low scores on a test. To eliminate anxiety during a test, practice the following habits;
- Think of yourself scoring well in a test. Retain the feeling in your mind and heart.
- Write down your fears before you take a test. It offloads some of the worries
- Take deep breaths. The oxygen helps to calm the mind and the nerves.
- Peppermint boosts memory and calms the nerves. Sucking a peppermint candy will help drop anxiety levels by making you calm
- Be confident of yourself all the time.
- Maintain a positive attitude
A positive mind always stays calm. Some test questions are confusing and can trigger some fear. Do not fret. Skip any puzzling question to maintain your positive attitude.
Making educated guesses helps to boost your confidence. Do not pay attention to any patterns that result from multiple choices. All of them are a mere coincidence.
Always listen to your instinct. The first answer you think of is usually correct- if you understood the question.