Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety is common for just about everyone as some point in time. To do well on a test, you have to learn how to control this anxiety. A little anxiety is beneficial because it keeps you alert. A lot of anxiety can lower your scores by making you forget answers and make unnecessary mistakes.



The first thing you need to know is the mechanism behind learning the material. Experts report that when you cram the night before a test you retain only about 20% of the material, and that youíll probably experience fatigue, loss of concentration, and test anxiety when you study that way. Instead, review several nights before the test. Itís frustrating to cram, then find you canít remember things, even though you can see in your minds eye, the very page the answer is on. Or worse, you remember the right answer just as you hand in your paper or as you leave the room. There are four layers of memory. Itíll help you to know how to study for tests when you know these four layers:

Layer 1 Ė This is Short-Term memory. Repeating back information immediately after it is stated. This is not good for taking tests, and††††††

††††††††††††††† is very unreliable.†

Layer 2 Ė Slightly longer retention. The information is simply repeated until you can remember it for a little while. This is not a very

††††††††††††††† reliable method either. Cramming is an example. When you canít remember what you crammed in the night before, you

††††††††††††††† know it only went as far as Layer 2.

Layer 3 Ė Repeating and writing down information. The writing creates a visual image for your mind to remember. This provides

††††††††††††††† fairly good retention. Your muscles help you remember as you write, and your memory sees the material on paper again,

††††††††††††††† and takes a picture of it. USE THE MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE STUDY GUIDE.

Layer 4 Ė Long-Term memory. The passage of time is a must for forcing material into the 4th layer of memory. Repeat and write†

††††††††††††††† down the information each night. Once there, the material is locked into Layer 4. Start reviewing for the test at least 3 or 4

††††††††††††††† days before the test.† USE THE MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE STUDY GUIDE.


The following are suggestions. Remember, not all of the suggestions work for everyone because everyone is different.


1.† Study consistently. DONíT CRAM!!!

2.† Read your material thoroughly.

3.† Quiz yourself periodically.

4.† Get enough sleep. Researchers have found that REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is a very active brain state during which learning†

†††† consolidation takes place and new information is put into long-term memory. What this means: Before a test or presentation, you

†††† will remember new learning better if you allow for some active dream time. Recommended: Go to bed for several hours of deep

†††† sleep. Get up about 2 a.m. and study. Then go back to bed from about 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. for your REM sleep, which builds up during

†††† the last third of the night. When you wake up, youíll know the material you just studied.

5.† Eat a good meal before the test. Not so much as to make you sleepy or groggy, but enough to keep you alert and able to

†††† concentrate.

6.†† Exercise to reduce anxiety and stimulate thinking and concentration.

7.†† Take a shower (warm water relaxes some, cold water stimulates others).

8.†† Allow enough time to get to the test without hurrying (hurrying causes tension).

9.†† Give yourself time in the testing room to relax and compose yourself (deep breathing exercises help. Take a deep breath, then an†

††††† other short breath, and exhale slowly). Close your eyes and picture a relaxing scene. Let your muscles relax. Then think about††††

††††† your test while you are relaxed.

10. Review (or donít review) with friends (depending on whether or not reviewing with others makes you more, or less nervous).

11. Study from a good outline. A good outline helps you to organize your information so that it is easier to remember. If you donít†

††††† know how to make a good outline, read .

12. Look (or donít look) through your books or notes before the test. (Looking over your book or notes prior to taking the test makes

††††† some people more anxious).

13. Develop a positive attitude. Tell yourself you studied as well as you could have and believe it.

14. Make sure you can see a clock or watch during the test and pace yourself. Not knowing how much time is left causes worry.

††††† Budget your time so you can answer all questions. Plan to use all the time you have available.

15. Choose your seat in the testing room carefully. Avoid distractions.

16. Start by answering the questions you know. This builds confidence and reduces anxiety because you can see you do know the

††††† answers. It may also trigger an answer to another question.

17. Donít panic if others are busy writing and you arenít. Your extra thought will produce better answers. Donít compare yourself to

††††† others.

18. Donít panic if you forget answers. Go onto something else. The answer will probably come to you as you keep taking the test.

19. Donít worry if others finish before you. Donít compare yourself to others.

20. Donít worry if you run out of time. Ask the instructor if you can have extra time to finish.

21. Go over the test later to find out what questions you missed.