How to Control Examination Stress
In our last post, we learned how to answer exams questions, the strategies and what to do during examinations. Today we want to look at how to control examination stress.
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Be prepared emotionally and physically, as well as intellectually.
Be prepared to do your best. Prepare your brain for optimum performance by keeping your physical resources well maintained. Get a good night's rest before the test.
Eat well-balanced meals; avoid fasting and do not take stimulants you are not accustomed to (e.g., coffee, soft drinks, chocolate). And keep up with your regular exercise.
Stay away from others right before the test.
Anxiety is highly contagious. It is best to focus on what you know rather than on what you don't know. Reinforce your strengths and confine your weaknesses. For this reason, it is also best not to study new material the night before a test.
Arrive at the test room early.
Give yourself enough time to select a seat and calm down before the test papers are distributed. Select a seat where the lighting is best (frequently near the front of the room) and where your view of other students will be minimized.
Remember to bring your student card and more than one HB pencil. Dress warmly and comfortably (and in layers, so you can put on your sweater if you're cold).
Don't expect to know everything.
It is highly unlikely that any student will answer all questions correctly. Remember that a grade of 75% on a test, which is evidence of a good grasp of the subject matter, means that 25% of the questions were answered incorrectly.
So, don't panic if you see a question you did not anticipate or prepare for. Use everything you know about the content of the course and your own reasoning ability to analyze the question and identify a logical answer.
Learn from returned tests.
To better prepare for future tests. When a graded test has been returned, rework your errors trying to reason out why the correct answers were correct. Identify why you might have missed a question. Did you fail to read it correctly? Did you fail to prepare for it? Was the test at a more difficult level than you prepared for? Did you run out of time? Did you have any problems with anxiety before or during the test?
If you did not do as well as you expected on a test, examine the way you prepared and adjusted your style of learning and studying to equip yourself to do better on future tests.
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