So, you’ve got a big exam coming up and you want to know how to overcome test anxiety. YouTube vlogger and author Tom Frank of College Info Geek shares some potent advice on how to reduce some of the stress and panic that comes just before an exam in this video:
He focuses in on three key areas that cause a lot of stress for college students:
- Fear of The Unknown
- Fear of Inadequacy
- Fear of the Stakes
Lots of students get really stressed out about things they don’t know. According to Tom, one of the best way to conquer this fear is to make the whole exam experience as familiar as possible.
Some ways you can do this is to try and recreate the test conditions as best you can. Actually go to the test location and set up your study materials or practice exam in the actual classroom you’ll be in. Give yourself as much time as you would get for the actual exam, as well as bring all the same materials you’ll be aloud to use during the exam. Turn off your phone and get familiar with what’s coming up so it won’t feel like such an unfamiliar surprise when you show up on game day!
He also recommending asking your professor for more information about what you can expect. After all, these educators are here to educate you and want you to be successful at the end of the day! Ask for more information about what will be on the exam, what sort of format the questions will be in, and how much time you’ll have to complete the exam.
Another great tip is to look for old practice tests you’ve taken throughout the semester or even old exams from student organizations or websites online that are similar to your exam’s content. Use these as practice tests to get acquainted with test content.
When it comes to the fear of inadequacy, there’s no shortcut but to actually COME PREPARED.
“The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare” –Juma Ikangaa
It’s not just about managing your anxiety levels- if you don’t study, you won’t do well, anxious or not. Go through your notes and other materials which you got throughout the semester and know your gaps. Tom recommends managing your time by focusing on areas that you didn’t do so well on throughout the semester instead of reviewing stuff you already know. He also gives some advice on the “home stretch schedule” strategy.
Sometimes, the fear of the stakes is what consume a lot of students. It’s important to keep in mind that one exam doesn’t define you or where you’ll go in life. Academic performance is just one little component of your work and who you are, and by no means has the power to make or break your future.
Tom covers issues like perfectionism and past failures and how you can deal with these as well.
If you still don’t feel confident after all of this preparation and still wondering how to overcome test anxiety, sometimes you just need to fake it to make it. Be very aware of your self-talk the weeks, days and minutes coming into the exam and be your best cheerleader.
Once at the exam classroom, you can use this last minute tip: A study done by the University of Chicago showed that students with test anxiety were able to reduce anxiety by taking just 10 minutes to write out why they were worried for the exam! This allows you to get all of your anxieties out on paper and put them aside before your test.
His new (and FREE!) book “10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades” is now out and it’s free! You can get a copy here in addition to his graduation planning spreadsheet.
Follow him at @TomFrankly for more college advice!