Test Taking Skills

Most students sit down to take a test with only educational material preparation. Hardly ever do students prepare their emotional, psychological or mental being for what is about to occur. Testing is a nerve wracking process and most people believe that because they know the information that they will do fine and there is not need to prepare the psyche. This generally works until the student sits down after studying hard for the exam and everything goes blank, they can not remember any of the information. This happens more than most people think, believe it or not your mind controlled by anxiety can cause you to bomb a test miserably. These are tips and skills that everyone can use, not only those that suffer from severe test anxiety, but anyone that is put in the test taking situation.

Anxiety is the leading cause of trouble on an academic test. It may not only be because the student is worried about the information on the test, but also other life events that can not be turned off because it is test time. Unfortunately our mind works all the time and it is impossible to differentiate between the test and the fight with the girl/boy friend last night. Though students can not completely remove stress and anxiety from their mind for the test they can do what is called clearing the mind. This allows students to focus their attention, therefore perform better on the exam.

Clearing the mind is a process of relaxation and slowing down. The student must concentrate on breathing and the actual test in front of them. Once immersed in the environment and test they will be fine. By taking deep breaths and letting the muscles of the body relax the individual will be able to turn their attention to the task at hand. This works not only for test taking, but with anything where the student needs to turn their attention to something else.

Changing one’s attitude is not always easy to do and many feel that it is merely impossible, but that is not correct. Some claim that they can tell whether the day will be a good one or bad one when they get up in the morning. There may be some truth to this because many psychological research efforts have shown that people can control their moods by their attitudes. That is correct attitudes can control mood! If a person tells themselves that today is lousy and everything about today is lousy, guess what, they are setting themselves up. On the other hand, the person that has a good attitude and believes that today is a positive day that will bring positive experiences; they will likely have a good day. Attitude is very important in the test taking experience; students must have a positive outlook to perform well on a test.

Another important factor in the test taking experience is following the directions and slowing down. It may be fun to be the first person finished with an exam, but it is not always the best thing. Most questions that are marked wrong are products of improper reading or not following the directions. Students read over questions so quickly they may miss a word or add one in some cases, causing them to mark the incorrect answer. This happens often on tests and after the student re-reads the test they find their mistake. By slowing down and reading the instructions, carefully reading each question, it increases the chances of a correct answer. For some students it is a matter of not knowing the correct answer and has nothing to do with the instructions or slowing down. In this case it is best to use logic to answer the question. There are generally at least two of the answers of a multiple choice question that are blatantly wrong. Rule those two out very first and then concentrate on the other two. Using logic to answer the question sometimes will help guess the correct answer. Another trick is to answer the questions in order and not skip around on the test. Sometimes one question will help you resolve another or give a good clue to the correct answer. Plus by skipping around you are likely to leave a question or two unanswered. The mind is a logical piece, likened to a piece of machinery. Never would you see a computer skipping around answering questions haphazardly. Follow the questions one to the next and it allows your mind to stay focused.

Testing is not the favorite topic of most students. However there are ways to make it a little more pleasant. Take the time to study and do not cram the night before. This disorganizes thoughts and information within the mind, which can cause you to perform poorly on the exam. Prepare not only from the class material or study guide, but also take the time to prepare the mind and body. Relax before the exam and make sure that you are ready. Go to the test with a full stomach, clear mind, and positive attitude for a passing grade!

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