Test Taking Anxiety

What is it about a test that causes so much test taking anxiety? I mean when I was in school just the concept of taking a test could drive me to distraction!

There are different reasons for test taking anxiety and let's face it, we can probably blame ourselves for much of our anxiety. Not being prepared, not understanding the material in the first place, etc. And then there is always the test where everything starts out great, then lo and behold, an impossible question pops up and we have no idea how to answer. Ughhhhhh! We've all been there. Blowing one question on a test can often lead to panic and before you know it the whole test is blown.

Oh, if I could only have a re-do with school. I know so much more about test taking anxiety than I ever knew during my school years. But now I want to help you so you don't have to continue to have test taking anxiety. You CAN be successful with tests, I have no doubt of that!

Now, I am not promising that once you conquer test taking anxiety you will love school :-) but you will be more confident in school once which I hope will eliminate your test taking anxiety.

Imagine walking into a test with full confidence. How awesome that would be! I am confident that the tips given on this site will help you combat test taking anxiety. This article along with the other information on Study Skills For All Ages will give you some great ideas on how to reduce your test taking anxiety. Here are some other articles that you may be helpful to you:

Note Taking
Linear Note Taking
Right Brain Left Brain

Let's get started!

preparing for a test


I cannot emphasize enough that test preparation is done for several days, if not weeks ahead of time through careful note taking, organization and reviewing. This is an absolute key point that you must understand if you are going to get rid of your test taking anxiety. If you take hold of this concept and work with it you will change your academic life, GUARANTEED!

Know what is going to be on the test. 

1. Ask the teacher

a. What information will be on the test. Now you probably will not get specific information, but at least know the topic, chapters, etc. If you are not clear on this, be sure to ask the teacher.
b. Find out what percentage of the information will be from your notes, reading, class work, textbook, etc.
c. What is the test format? Essay, multiple choice, true/false, etc.

2. Review previous tests from the same class. This is important to get a feel for how the teacher puts together their tests. You will learn what information is stressed and how questions are asked.
3. Attend any extra help sessions that are being offered.
4. When you are taking notes, be sure to copy anything that is written on the board. This is prime test material because if the teacher is writing it on the board, it must be important.

Reviewing Your Notes 
Once you find out the format of the test and what will be on the test, you can organize your notes. If you need help with note taking skills, there is plenty of information on this site about note taking.

Be sure to study the information in the order that it was given. Also, be sure to skim your textbook as you are studying. This will give you a chance to find any information you may have missed and add it to your study notes.

In fact, a great way to reread your textbook to check for missing information is to complete review sections in your textbook. Most textbooks have them and as you are answering the questions in the review section you will be sure to cover information you may have previously missed.

Quiz Yourself
As you are reviewing your notes and other material, make quizzes for yourself.

This is quick and easy to do if you have used the QEC (question, evidence, conclusion) method of note taking found in my linear note taking article. If you are not familiar with this, no problem, just click here to read the article, go ahead, I'll wait for you.

Take all the questions you have already got in your notes and turn them into a quiz format. This is important to do because it will put what you have already learned into practice and this helps get it into your long-term memory. Which is exactly where we want it for the test!!

As you answer the questions, be sure to write them or say them out loud. Find a way that gets the answer into your brain permanently. For many people this may be saying them out loud. Often students will find that putting information to a story or to a song helps them retain the information in a stunningly specific way.

Be sure to make note of any questions you are having trouble answering. If you continue to have trouble answering certain questions you may want to:

Ask the teacher for help
Ask other students how they understand the question
Form a study group to go over the information

Memorizing, Yup, I Said Memorizing! 
The key to successful memorization of information is to understand that time is your friend, not your foe. You may as well confess that at least once in your life you've probably tried to cram things into your head just a few hours before an exam. Now, let me ask you, was that effective? Probably not. But we've all done it, how do you think I knew to ask you? :-)

I'm going to give you some tips on memorizing that will motivate you to change your memorizing habits. It's so worth it because it will help you ace tests and isn't that why you are here?

Do not memorize while you are reviewing other information: Make the memorization time separate from your other review time. For example, if you are going to study for the test at night from 7-11. Take time during the day, perhaps lunch time, to do the memorizing of dates, names, etc.

Put the information on flashcards: This makes it easy to review anywhere you are. Just carry the flashcards with you and review can take place anytime you want. For example, dinnertime, waiting for a bus, etc.

Do not memorize for more than an hour at a time: Keep memorization time shorter so you don't burn out on it. You need your brain to be fresh if you are going to be memorizing facts.

Start memorizing several days before the test: Ideally you have been memorizing throughout the semester. However, it's o.k. if you didn't do that, but be sure to give yourself several days and do not try to cram the memorization into the last two or three days. That creates too much stress, especially if you are having a hard time with the memorization.

By following the tips in this article you can alleviate test taking anxiety. I think the most important aspect of eliminating test anxiety is to be prepared. This means giving yourself time. Don't wait until the last minute. And giving yourself time will help you to implement the ideas and tips given in this article. Before you know it, you will become a test taking whiz!

For more great information on test taking and improving study skills see the links below.

more test taking ideas

Test Taking Help
An overview addressing the importance of learning proper study skills to improve your test taking.

Combating Test Taking Anxiety
Most people have suffered from test taking anxiety and I can tell you, it's tough to do well on a test when it overwhelms you. The tips in this article will help you combat and overcome test anxiety.

Note Taking
Effective note taking is a great way to improve your grades. Here is an overview on note taking technigues. It is important to find a method of note taking that works for you. That's why at Study Skills For All Ages, we discuss many different methods of note taking.

school should be fun!
study skills for all ages takes the anxiety out of learning!

mind mapping ideas

Family Vacation!!

are you a right brainer or a left brainer?

Click here to find out!

ummm, did you say flashcards can be fun?

Yes!! Click Here and Learn How to Make Creative Flash Cards that actually work!