Control Test Taking Panic

To pass a multiple-choice test, you have to develop two very different sets of skills:

  • First, you need to know enough about the course content.
  • You will also need to develop your test-taking skills.

There are six skills you can practice to master your testing skills…

Step 1 – Today

It seems obvious, but the better prepared you are, the more confident you will be. The more confidence you have, the more you will be able to control your test anxiety. Most of us put off what we fear or dislike. So, start studying today!

Step 2 –  Tomorrow

Studying is important, but not enough. Along with studying, you must practice. You just can’t do too many practice test questions or glossary term studying.

Practice accomplishes two things:

  • Your skills improve as you master the material.
  • You prove to yourself that you can do this, and it is this self-confidence that will help you control test panic.

Step 3 – Day Before Testing

Spend this day studying the heavily tested content.

Step 4 – ‘Twas the Night Before Testing

Plot your time, print your map to the test center, and gather everything you’ll need to take the test. Do not pull an all-nighter studying (that’ll just cost you points); you should know this stuff by now.

Step 5 – Test Day!

Get up an hour earlier than you think you need. Treat yourself to a healthy breakfast with protein. Relax, eat, and build up your mental and physical energy. Yesterday, you calculated how long it would take you to reach the test center. Pick up all your materials and leave 30-40 minutes earlier than you planned. Nothing is more stressful than running late for the test (bad traffic, getting lost).

Step 6 – Feeling Tense?

You’ve settled in to your desk at the test center and you feel that first, cool touch of panic. At this point, there are a couple things you can do to ward off those first signs of anxiety.

First, get some more oxygen in your system:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a very deep breath and hold it for three or four seconds.
  • Now, slowly push it out …push out as much air as you can.
  • Repeat twice.

Still anxiety-ridden? Try a simple “tension release” exercise:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Center your attention of the parts of your body that feel tense.
  • Tighten up your muscles.
  • Relax your muscles slowly to help shed tension. This exercise gives your nerves an outlet to release.
  • Do it two or three times.

Both these exercises can be done at your desk, even during the test. However, to be most effective, you should practice these techniques at home before the test session.