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I need good study strategies and test taking strategies that I can use to help my...

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fasterone

Posted July 28, 2011 at 12:22 AM via web

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I need good study strategies and test taking strategies that I can use to help my test anxiety.

I need good study strategies and test taking strategies that I can use to help my test anxiety.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 28, 2011 at 2:35 AM (Answer #2)

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Moving this to the Discussion forum might get you more suggestions!

Test anxiety is a very real problem for some individuals and is not an easily solved condition. Your awareness of your situation tells me that you've been trying to find a solution, which makes me think you already know strategies that can be useful. You need to find a system of identifying the important points in the material that will be on the test - highlighting, making flash cards, creating your own outline or PowerPoint to review. You need to spend enough time with those important points to truly internalize that information - read your notes aloud, record them and listen to them, have friends quiz you over the material, make up songs and sing the information to yourself, repeat the information as the rhythm as you work out, anything that keeps that material in your awareness while it sinks into your knowledge bank.

The hardest part comes in the last few hours before the test. At that point, you should have done all the reviewing and studying and practicing writing answers to essay questions and matching terms with diagrams and whatever other types of exercises you are anticipating might be on the test. Then the challenge becomes telling yourself that you've worked really hard at studying and that you know this information and that you can handle this test because you're well prepared. Do your best to get a good night's sleep, eat a good meal before you go into the examination, make sure you have any equipment needed for the test. Take a deep breath when the test is actually in your hands and be confident in all the time and effort you've put into getting ready for it. Good luck!

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2011 at 4:16 AM (Answer #3)

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The first thing you should do is recognize and locate the source of your test anxiety.  When do you get anxious?  Is it for all types of tests, or just some types?  Is it just some subjects or teachers?  Just recognizing that you are anxious is a big step.  Then, take time to relax before these stressful tests.  You might find a song that calms you don't, and listen to it before the test if possible.  Some people find doodling or stress balls relaxing.  Sometimes a ritual also helps, such as lining all of your pencils up or writing your name a certain way.  It may sound silly, but these things help you feel more in control.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 28, 2011 at 6:51 AM (Answer #4)

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A little nervousness and anxiety are perfectly normal, so know that you most certainly are not alone. The trick is not to let the nervousness control you and affect your performance. I know this is easier said than done. Try some simple things to prepare. Go to bed earlier the night before a test. It sounds silly, but being more fully rested will help you feel more confident too. Eat good food for breakfast, not caffeine or sugar that will make you even more jittery. And in the days leading up to the test, ask your teachers for help. We like students who do so, believe it or not, and perhaps your teacher can give you some practice exams that you can take home and use as study tools. Good luck!
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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM (Answer #5)

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I agree most with the first post.  I think that test anxiety is best reduced by preparing well.  I think that, in addition to what the first post recommends, you should be sure to study in ways that make you interact with your material.  Don't just do flashcards where you try to memorize things.  Instead, do things like paraphrasing the text so that you actually have to think about what you are reading.  The more you force yourself to think about the material, the better you'll know it and eventually you'll reduce your anxiety levels.

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whatever1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 28, 2011 at 2:27 PM (Answer #6)

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Believe it or not, I employ the same mental approach to taking tests as I do when I'm at the dentist.  Basically, my philosophy is that "the pain is always temporary".  What I mean is that sure, it really does hurt when the hygenist is scraping with that sharp tool right at my gum line (shudder), but this will be done in a few seconds.  With each unpleasurable procedure, I simply remind myself to be calm and that the pain will be over shortly.  If I instead focused on the pain and delved into it with my emotional center, then yes---the dentist visit would prove to be a hellish experience!  So, when you are taking a test, remind yourself that yes, this is an unpleasant experience, but one that will be over in an hour, so for that hour I will recognize the pain, but handle it in a rational and calm fashion, instead of focusing in on it and letting it override my senses.

Mastery of self and one's own emotions is the true key to success.  Good luck!

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:09 AM (Answer #7)

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Breathing exercises help. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale slowly. Also, remember to look at the test as one problem at a time. Try to focus on one problem at a time. Do not flip through and become overwhelmed. Complete one problem and feel the satisfaction of one down. This helps me. Breaking the test into smaller chunks keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM (Answer #8)

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The beginning of overcoming test anxiety is pinpointing what causes it. Are you not properly prepared when you take a test? Do you get excessively nervous? Do you lose sleep before a test? Do you fail to understand the questions because your mind is racing or cloudy? Each cause has one or more strategies to help keep it under control. For instance, you can plan your studying so you are thoroughly prepared and prepared ahead of time: schedule study; join a study group; don't procrastinate through fear. You can eat well and arrive early for the exam and ignore other people's nervous comments. Here are two sites that offer good help: Southwestern College and West Virginia University.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 29, 2011 at 3:18 AM (Answer #9)

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In addition to the excellent suggestions made above, I have had some students who have been helped greatly by really practical things like making sure that they arrive deliberately early for exams so that they are not in a rush. If there are not set desks for the exam, then they often find it helps to get a desk right at the front of the exam hall or room so that they do not have to look at everybody else and get distracted. It might help.

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bigdreams1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 29, 2011 at 9:06 AM (Answer #10)

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As many of the posters indicated above, being well-prepared is your first and best way to deal with test anxiety. If you know you know the material, a lot of the fear will fade away.

After that, there are many things I tell my students to do to ease the pain. Getting good sleep the night before, eatiing a good breakfast, bringing a water bottle (if allowed) to keep the brain hydrated during the test, using lavender or vanilla lotion (which are aromatheraphy soothers), sucking on a hard candy or chewing gum during a test (if allowed) tends to focus the brain and reduce stress, and visualizing a good outcome are all interesting ideas to try.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:22 PM (Answer #11)

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Lots of good advice here for you! In addition to mental and physical preparation, some students benefit from chewing gum (if it is not against school policy) or squeezing some kind of stress ball. There is something about releasing tension in these ways which helps reduce anxiety.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:54 PM (Answer #12)

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Facing the issue early enough to give yourself confidence is a key strategy, and I think by posting this you are probably on to this already. Anxiety around tests etc seems to lessen when the activity becomes familiar. Try attempting similar questions to the ones you are expecting on your test and use the same time to do them. Talk to tutors and other students about what the test will involve. Check you are revising the rght topics. Facing your demons reduces the fear.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 1, 2011 at 4:11 AM (Answer #13)

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In addition to the many excellent suggestions already offered, I have a couple more strategies. First, when you get the test in front of you, do a quick scan and then answer the questions that look the easiest, or that you know the most about, first. That way you'll get a confidence boost that will help you tackle the more difficult questions.

Second, consider this: tests do not fall from the sky. They are written by human beings. When you are studying for a test, it might pay off to stop and think about what you would ask if you had to write this test. What are the most important ideas in the material? How would you ask about them?

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janeblue | Student, Undergraduate

Posted September 13, 2011 at 7:27 AM (Answer #14)

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iflash helped me study a lot I recommend it. Sometimes I write flashcards during class when the teacher says "this is going to be on the test". Helps me out a lot at the end of the semester when I have lost flashcards and all of that.

http://download.cnet.com/iFlash/3000-2056_4-10212049.html

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smartipi | Student, Grade 10

Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:02 AM (Answer #15)

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  1. Make note cards
  2. If you don't know something go in for extra help!
  3. Reread your book and take notes
  4. Don't panic you will do great :)
  5. Don't have any distractions while you study

Remember it's all good you will rock that test :)

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francesmelu1000 | Student

Posted January 30, 2012 at 2:27 PM (Answer #18)

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Lots of good advice here for you! In addition to mental and physical preparation, some students benefit from chewing gum (if it is not against school policy) or squeezing some kind of stress ball. There is something about releasing tension in these ways which helps reduce anxiety.

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