Empowering Your Academic Journey

Coping with Test Anxiety

Experiencing test anxiety is natural. In fact, most people – even those who have prepared extensively – experience some level of anxiety before and during tests. While a certain level of test anxiety is beneficial (as it motivates students to adequately prepare), too much can be detrimental if it prevents them from studying, preparing properly, or concentrating during a test.

These following strategies can help you control extreme test taking anxiety:

  • Develop good study habits!
  • Be prepared!
  • Approach the test with confidence!
  • Don't cram!
  • Get adequate exercise!
  • Get plenty of sleep!
  • Don't go to the test with an empty stomach!
  • Stay positive!
  • Stay relaxed!
  • Focus on the learning experience!
  • Ask for help!

During the test:

  • Read the directions carefully!
  • Budget your test taking time!
  • Change positions to help you relax!
  • If you go blank, skip the question and go on!
  • If you're taking an essay test and you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind!
  • Don't panic when students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for finishing first!

Find a Good Place to Study

One of the keys to effective studying is finding a good location. It's difficult to study in a room full of distractions. However, the ideal location for you may not be the ideal study location for someone else. You may not like studying somewhere private, or even very quiet, but you do want to make sure that you study at a location that is conducive to your method of learning, allows you to concentrate, and is free of distractions

The reason why it is not always recommended to study in a quiet area is because some people learn better in a room with background noise. While studying in a library with people constantly coming and going, librarians restocking books and people talking is distracting to some, it's the perfect study environment for others. Some students prefer studying in a small cubical where they will not be disturbed by noise or any other visual stimuli, while others like studying right in the middle of bustle and commotion. The following are general guidelines for selecting a study location. Since everyone has individual study preferences, there is no one best study location for everyone.

  • Create a routine;
  • Find a location that's comfortable;
  • Evaluate your study preferences;
  • Create study rules and follow them.

Again, there is no one best place to study, only best conditions that promote effective studying. The following are a few locations that can be ideal for studying.

  • Library. The library offers a quite environment with various study options, including individual cubicles, group study rooms, tables, couches, as well as a variety of information and learning resources.
  • Bedroom. This can be an excellent study location given its convenience and comfort. It's also easy to have all your study materials on hand. However, a bedroom isn't always the best place to study if it's too comfortable or there are too many distractions (ie. video games, TV, roommates, etc.).
  • Kitchen. The kitchen can be an excellent study location if there aren't too many distractions. Most kitchens are well lit and have seating that requires you to sit up.
  • School's study lounge. Whether you're studying alone or in a small group your school's study lounge can be a good place to study. However, if you're prone to socialize with other students you may want to consider a different study location.
  • Classroom. An empty classroom can be an excellent place to study. Many colleges allow students to use classrooms for studying while class in not in session. If you can find a classroom that is available while you're at school during the day it might make an excellent study location.
  • Coffee shop. Soft background noise, free wifi, great lighting and a relaxed atmosphere can make a coffee shop a great location to study.

Personalized Learning Strategies

We all learn differently, and we each have our own style of studying. No two people are exactly the same when it comes to study preferences.

To get the most out of your studying, it's important to better understand what works for you, and what doesn't.

There is no right or wrong answer to which learning style is best for you – or mix of learning styles. However, by discovering and better understanding your own learning styles, you can employ techniques that will improve the rate and quality of your learning.

There are seven key learning styles. These include:

  • Visual (spacial) – learning through imagery and spacial understanding;
  • Aural (auditory) – learning through listening, sound, and music;
  • Verbal (linguistic) – learning through speech and writing;
  • Physical (kinesthetic) – learning through hands-on, tactile interaction;
  • Logical (mathematical) – learning through logic, reasoning and systems;
  • Social (interpersonal) – preference for learning in groups or working with other people;
  • Solitary (intrapersonal) – preference for learning alone via self-study.

Video Resources

Overcoming Test Anxiety

How to Take on Your Exams without Stress

10 Tips to Reduce Exam Anxiety