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Suggested test taking strategies

  1. Aug 17, 2011 #1
    Just took a final and i must say I feel it didn't go as well as I would have liked.

    Looking back, I know exactly how to do every single question on the test, but I froze on the test and couldn't figure out how to approach one of the problems until there were only ten minutes remaining. This is not the first time this has happened to me

    I study a lot; I would say with confidence that I know the material better than the majority of the class. Yet I consistently get roughly average on tests and assignments.
    The feeling of underperforming on tests is incredibly frustrating to me.

    Given that exams generally require applying the learned topics to unfamiliar problems/situations, can anyone offer studying/test taking strategies that work for them?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2011 #2
    I'm sorry to hear that JFuld :frown:

    Does this happen to you often?? Freezing on a test?
    I'm not going to diagnoze you, but test anxiety is a real problem for some people out there. Maybe seeing a counciler could help you??

    Also, do you make a lot of problems during your study time?? If you do a lot of problems, then the problems will become routine after a while. And the chance of forgetting important things during the test will be less...
  4. Aug 17, 2011 #3
    One thing I've found really helps is doing something completely unrelated for the hour or two before a test. Most people tend to frantically study and go over their notes, but I really don't think that helps unless you're completely under-prepared. Personally, I find a nice spot to sit, and I listen to music or maybe chat with some friends about non-academic things. The key is that I'm doing something that relaxes me and has absolutely nothing to do with the test I'm about to write. Some friends of mine have adopted a similar strategy, and they like to go for a swim before every test.

    I started doing this because I found that I was studying so much that by the time the test came I just didn't feel like thinking anymore, or I would be so weary from studying that I would panic really easily, similar to what you described. When I'm really relaxed before a test, I find it a lot easier to focus and think clearly. I've found my test performance has improved quite a bit since I started doing that, and I make fewer silly little mistakes. I also find it much easier to suppress those feelings of panic when I don't know how to do a question. As I'm sure you know, those "I have NO clue how to do this question" sorts of thoughts tend to stick in your head and not let you figure out how to do the question. For me, it's a lot easier to get rid of those thoughts when I'm relaxed before the test.

    Hope that helps. Like micromass said, though, test anxiety is a real thing and it's not abnormal. Seeking professional help might be worth it if it's a persistent problem that's affecting your test scores.
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