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5 tips for test anxiety that can boost your grades

Are you feeling anxious about an upcoming test? Are you looking for tips for test anxiety? Here are five tips that can boost your grades.

Tip #1: Figure out your learning style

How do you absorb information? Some people learn best by reading instructions. For others it might be listening to an explanation, watching someone show you, doing it yourself, or writing notes. Or a combination of these.

Which learning style works best for you?

tips for test anxiety

To effectively study and retain information it’s important to identify how you learn best. You don’t have to use just one style. In fact, it’s best if you try to use several styles. For example, listening to a lecture and taking notes at the same time helps you retain information.

You won’t always have the option to use your favorite style, but the key is to study using your best learning styles as much as possible.

Tip #2: Schedule some study time

Sounds boring, right? But hear me out. This works!

First, evaluate your current schedule. Keep track of your activities for about a week. Then determine when you have free time and for how long. Now block some time for studying in your calendar. 

Here are some scheduling tips:

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    Think about whether you study best in the morning or later in the day. Try to schedule at the right time for you.
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    Don’t fill all your free time with studying. Make sure you have some free time for fun!
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    There's not a right time to study and a wrong time to study – make your schedule work for you.
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    Once you make your plan stick to it!

Tip #3: Repeat positive affirmations

Your past experiences with tests may have created a negative mindset. A negative mindset could influence your performance when taking a test. A good way to shift a negative mindset is by using positive affirmations. Positive affirmations tap into your subconscious mind and can instill confidence. So when you take a test you’ll feel confident and relaxed.

Here’s an example of a positive affirmation to reduce test anxiety:

I enjoy what I’m studying. I understand what I’m studying. Since I study hard and regularly, the information I learned is retained and ready to use for exams. Exams are not bad they’re fun! I enjoy taking tests and pass them easily. I’m always relaxed during exams because I prepare and focus on the exam. I thrive under exam pressure.

The statements don’t have to be true right now. What you’re doing is creating a new vision and shaping a new future. Ultimately, you’re feeding your brain new instructions. You're probably not aware of the negative "script" that you're feeding your brain now, but by flipping the message, your brain will respond automatically with new behaviors. Try it and you’ll see that your brain listens to your instructions and acts on your messages!

Reciting the affirmation only a few times won’t work. Say the affirmation every night before you go to bed and in the morning when you wake up. This is when your brain is in an alpha state and is more open to new thoughts and suggestions. Do this for 6-8 weeks. The more you say it, the more it will stick. When you build your confidence, your test anxiety will diminish, slowly but surely.

Tip #4: Practice, practice, practice

The Law of Habituation says: "The more you do something, the less you fear it."

Practicing taking tests will reduce test anxiety. You’re making yourself accustomed to sitting for a period of time which can help you feel comfortable when you’re taking a test. Another way that makes you comfortable and relaxed is taking a practice test. Take it as many times as possible. If you do not have one, make one! 

Here's how to make your own practice test (DIY):

You may not know what information is going to be on an exam, but that should not stop you from making your practice exam. A good way to make your own exam is to summarize chapters and sections and make questions. Making questions based on summarizing sections is great because it will provide more practice questions. If you do not have that much time, you can create small quiz questions when summarizing a chapter. Creating a quiz is great when you are trying to remember the key points about the chapter on the next day and following days.

Tip #5: Teach someone else

One of the best tips for test anxiety is to teach someone else. To teach someone, you need to learn the material. So, 1) you have to take time to learn the information, and 2) take time to understand what you are learning. Teach it to one person or a group. It’s better when you’re teaching someone who is learning the same stuff as you because they will understand, at least to a certain degree, what you are teaching. Teaching someone or a group of people helps with recalling information, but can also fill any gaps in information that you’re missing.

Do you have tips for test anxiety?

What are your tips for test anxiety? What has worked for you? Share them in the comments below.