What are some tips to help deal with test-taking anxiety?

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I would tell a student: Join the club! Your feelings of anxiety about examinations have been experienced by millions and millions of people and will be experienced by millions and millions more in the future--not only in America but all over Europe and probably all over the world. In his...

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I would tell a student: Join the club! Your feelings of anxiety about examinations have been experienced by millions and millions of people and will be experienced by millions and millions more in the future--not only in America but all over Europe and probably all over the world. In his famous book The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud wrote that what he called "Examination Dreams" were among the most common dreams of all. So not only do students feel anxious about examinations, but people will continue to dream about them, and experience the same anxiety, when they are in the forties and fifties, and maybe even when they are in their eighties and nineties. I think you are wise to talk about them, and you might even try joking about them. Freud came to the conclusion that the function of examination dreams was to remind the dreamer that something he or she was dreading in the present was like the way the dreamer felt way back in school when an examination was coming up. The dream is telling him or her, "You felt this way about exams ages ago when you were in school and you got through them all right, so don't be so worried. You'll get through your current problem all right too." 

I have felt plenty of anxiety about tests in college myself. But my recollection is that the actual tests were never as bad as I anticipated. Shakespeare says in Macbeth

Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.

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Test Anxiety Help:

Testing is like Game-Time; Performance-Time. All athletes, musicians and performers get pre-performance jitters. There's no short term cure for it other than performing on "stage" often with success. Here's some help to be successful which ultimately leads to eliminating anxiety.

1. Preparation... sounds easy and one might state I do prepare but are you preparing properly. Not the night prior studying; are doing what is necessary throughout the ENTIRE lapse of time. Are you taking notes in an organized manner? Are you color coding, highlighting important concepts? The BEST most useful FREE online tool that syncs with ALL iOS products, lap tops and desk tops in Evernote.

2. Studying... Are you studying your notes often enough? Studying is a task that needs to be done frequently, for shorter periods of time so that information is placed in your long term memory, rather than in your short term memory. In 20 years teaching here's the BEST online source for studying techniques that I've found. It's titled ADPRIMA and the auithor of the site Dr. Bob Kizlick (he's a study expert on the topic - his bio is linked). Using flash cards is also very helpful. Again this needs to done many days, even weeks in advance. Here's a YouTube video on helpful note card development: Note Card Tutorial. An additional gem of a tool is to use the app titled Quizlet (

3. Game-Time... Get to bed at a reasonable time the night prior to the test. On the day of the test wake up early and review ALL material after having a quality, healthy breakfast. Your brain is a muscle, treat it as such like an athlete treats their body. A fresh, alert brain in the morning will make the difference the day of the test.

4. Success... breads more success but it doesn't come with out preparation over a long period of time. Musicians, athletes and performers do not reach their top performance levels without spending incredible amounts of time preparing using multiple methods. Test taking skills are no different. Experiment and try various methods of studying. Use the internet to research how other(s) study; learn from their attempts. Start here at the AskteacherZ Homework HelperZ web site and then branch out.

5. Be Confident... when you know, in your heart, that you've done what it takes to prepare you'll be confident taking that test. Once you reach this level the anxiety will cease to exist. You can do it!

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