Test Nervousness and How to Avoid It

Taking a test of any kind can be a daunting experience for anyone, but for many high school students, exam time is more than that. It is positively nerve-wracking. Although the studying and preparations have been done, nothing seems to calm those last-minute nerves in some students, and even some of the brighter ones who are expected to perform well on tests seem to be affected.

Other students sail through the exams with very little stress or tension, taking everything in their stride. It is a matter of personality. Nervous test-takers are probably anxious in other stressful situations as well. Help is available, however, in the form a few simple pre-test strategies.

Test preparations should be in place weeks or months before exam time, and the most important preparation is to bring one’s physical condition up to par. Regular vigorous exercise and proper eating habits are absolutely essential. Junk food and constant snacking between meals do nothing to improve the body or the mind, and should be avoided as much as possible.

Students who are part of school sports teams and athletic groups tend to perform better academically. The brain benefits greatly from the powerful blood flow that is generated from physical exercise, and this is the reason that physical education is considered so important by all professional educators today.

Adequate rest on a regular basis is just as important as good eating habits. Too many late nights can catch up on a young person’s mental performance, and fatigue can develop gradually over a period of time, greatly affecting the ability to do well in academic matters. This is particularly important as exam time approaches. Students who want to feel confident in a test situation need to be well rested.

On the morning of the first exam, some special preparations are needed. First of all, students should eat only a very light breakfast, as too much food can cause mental fatigue. Blood flow is needed to the brain when mental alertness is a priority, and should not be overly diverted to the digestive system. A short run or brisk walk will help to dispel any nervousness, and it will greatly enhance the mental alertness needed for the exam. Also, the morning of the test is no time to study. Cramming at the last minute will do more harm than good, and it will likely cause more stress and anxiety.

Once the exam begins, any nervousness should begin to disappear. A page full of questions can be somewhat overwhelming, but a quick glance over all of them before beginning can help to dispel any fears. It is inevitable that some questions will appear difficult or complicated. These should be skipped initially, and students should give their full attention to the questions that they can answer quickly and easily. The difficult questions can be considered again later.

Test-taking can be a learned skill, and no student should settle for being a bad test taker. Nothing can replace studying and preparation during the course of the term, but the stress and anxiety associated with test taking can be greatly reduced by following a simple plan. With practice and proper preparation, exam time can be a positive and even enjoyable experience.