Do you sweat, chew your pencil, and feel butterflies in your stomach as your teacher
hands out a test? A lot of people (adults included) get freaked out when it's time
to take a test.
It's natural to feel some stress about taking tests. In fact, sometimes a little
adrenaline (a hormone made by your body during times of excitement or stress) is a
good thing to jump-start you.
Here are some tips for taking tests:
First, be sure you've studied properly. It sounds like a no-brainer,
but if you're sure of the information, you'll have less reason to be worried.
Get enough sleep the night before the test. Your memory recall
will be much better if you've had enough rest. In a scientific study, people who got
enough sleep before taking a
math test did better than those who stayed up all night studying.
Listen closely to any instructions. As the teacher hands out
the test, be sure you know what's expected of you.
Read the test through first. Once you have the test paper in
front of you, read over the entire test, checking out how long it is and all the parts
that you are expected to complete. This will let you estimate how much time you have
for each section and ask the teacher any questions. If something seems unclear before
you start, don't panic: ask.
Focus on addressing each question individually. As you take the
test, if you don't know an answer, don't obsess over it. Instead, answer the best
way you can or skip over the question and come back to it after you've answered other
Relax. If you're so nervous that you blank out, you might need
a mini-break. Of course you can't get up and move around in the middle of a test,
but you can wiggle your fingers and toes, take four or five deep breaths, or picture
yourself on a beach or some other calm place. As we all know, it can be easy to forget
things we know well — like a locker combination. The difference is we know we'll
remember our locker combination because we've used it hundreds of times, so we don't
panic and the combination number eventually comes back. During a test, if you blank
out on something and start to get tense, it suddenly becomes much more difficult to
Finished already? Although most teachers will let you hand a
test in early, it's usually a good idea to spend any extra time checking over your
work. You also can add details that you may not have thought you'd have time for.
On the other hand, if you have 5 minutes until the bell rings and you're still writing,
wind up whatever you're working on without panicking.
These tips should help most people, but some can get serious test-taking
terror. If you're one of them, you may need to talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor