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Written by Megan Sentes
Test anxiety can be an enemy when trying to achieve a perfect grade or mark. It isn’t just a little bit of nervousness before an exam, it can ruin your perspective – if you let it. Symptoms of test anxiety include excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, headache, feeling faint, self-doubt, fear, stress, anger, and hopelessness. It can make it very difficult to concentrate and focus on the task. It can make it hard to choose between different answers on a test and make you forget everything you just studied for hours.
I struggle with test anxiety, and I have been struggling with it since I started university. I would struggle with it in high school but I didn’t know it was a real problem or could turn into one. I failed Anatomy & Physiology the first time because of my test anxiety. I would second-guess myself when trying to decipher between a few options to a question. I would forget everything I just worked so hard on. Test anxiety put me in a dark place and made me question if nursing was for me. When I sat down with myself and thought about what was happening with myself, I decided and chose to bounce back. I may have questioned my studying strategies, but thanked God that I never gave up!
Here are some tips that helped me and might help you deal with test anxiety and never second-guess your dream:
Take an online quiz to find out your learning style and what strategy works the best for you. Finding out if you are a visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and/or reading/writing learner will help you study correctly and help to retain information.
Every time you have an exam, you should be consistent with a routine for studying. Following the same steps in each exam will help you get ready for the test. It will help you feel more prepared and more comfortable with studying. I usually will start studying a week in advance and print out all of the notes. I will re-watch the lecture videos or re-read the chapters in the textbook. I will take another color pen and make more notes that I may have missed or rewrite them in another way to help fully understand the material. I will keep reading my notes.
Do not pull all-nighters and burn out your brain because of studying. Sleep is the most important thing you can do for academic performance and memory. Instead of cramming studying in at the last moment, follow your study routine in advance so the night before your exam, you can sleep like a baby!
Test anxiety is something I will always deal with, but I can use these few steps when it comes to exam season. These will help me focus on myself before cramming my brain with information. Remember: You can’t focus on something else if you don’t focus on yourself first.