You know the nightmare; we have all been there. You are sitting at a desk, ready to take a test. You are are hopeful and ready. After the test is handed out you realize that you studied the wrong material. Everyone else seems to be breezing through the test all around you, but you are paralyzed. You don't know any of the answers; you are going to fail and fail badly. When you wake up you are drenched in sweat. Despite the fact that you know you just had a nightmare there is still a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. The nightmare is over, but you still have nagging worries. What about that paper you have to write next week? What about that test you have to study for on Wednesday?
Everyone has had that self-doubt nightmare in one form or another. Everyone has self-doubts and worries. Being a student means you are being tested in one way or another on a continuous basis and that can be very stressful. Tests and papers are always looming in the distance. Here are a few tips that will help you manage the pressure you are under and ace that test!
Tip #1 - Sleep
Yes, it is hard to sleep the night before a big test. Time that you spend sleeping could be used to review material one more time, but that would not be wise. You know what it feels like when you don't get enough sleep. You are spacey and everything takes twice as long to complete. No, you need to be alert. If you are in a stressful situation the one thing you body really needs is rest. (No, not more coffee. That is for the morning.) Believe it or not, studies have shown that the brain is more active at night while sleeping than during the day. Although studies are still being done, many believe that the brain is processing all of the information received during the day. This includes all of the materials you studied and need to know. It makes sense that if you do get the sleep your brain and body need, then the information you need during the test will become more readily available to you. There are plenty of fun ways to spend the evening hours, but the night before a test you need about 8 hours of sleep.
Tip #2 - Know What To Expect
Uncertainty breeds unease and stress in most people. This is especially true for students on the edge of testing. Common sense tells us that we need to know what will be on a test to prepare for taking the test, but do you really know? Don't spend another minute lying awake in your bed replaying nightmare situations. Make sure you know what is expected of you. Whole departments, professors and teachers have office hours. Email questions to them, but better than email is a face to face appointment. Make contact with your professor and arrange a time to meet. People are more likely to help someone they can see, so get visible and make sure you show up for the meeting.
First reconfirm the place, date and time of the test. A last minute testing site change could kill everything you have prepare for. Ask your professor exactly what material will be on the test. Clarify points of confusion. Also, find out what the format of the test. Will there be essay questions, short answer, fill in the blank or multiple choice? How many questions will there be? How much time will you be allowed? Be crystal clear on the material that will be tested and how it will be tested. Remember, you are going to have to feel comfortable enough to sleep the night before this test. The more you know about what you are going into the more empowered you will be.
If some of the testing material is still unclear to you, then perhaps the professor knows about a student-to-student tutoring program you can access. In addition, the professor might know about a specific website that would explain the finer points of an unclear concept. Ask the professor for any recommendations they might have. Professors usually know about resources that might help you, but you have to ask for the help first.
Tip #3 - Be Prepared
You knew that one, didn't you? I thought you would. Still, it is the last minute rushing around that makes everyone crazy and you don't want to arrive at the test out of breath and stressed out. Make sure you have the right materials for the job. Really think the situation out in your mind. What do you need for the test? First, put a watch on your wrist. Yes, a watch. Your professor may not allow you a phone on your desk, so you are going to need another reliable time keeper. What else will you need for the test? Pencils? Paper? A Calculator? A bottle of water? Consider everything you will need for the test and put it out the night before. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes because you don't want any wardrobe distractions during the test. Prepare for the test by walking through the situation beforehand in your mind will help ease stress. Taking care of all of the little things ahead of time will give you piece of mind.
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