It is very common to feel nervous and anxious before an important test or final exam. The easiest way to reduce these feelings of anxiety is to prepare. This means you must STUDY. Begin to study your materials at least one month in advance of your exam to give yourself sufficient time to get to know and understand your subject matter. Give yourself an extra leg up by working with an in-home private tutor, or take advantage of online tutoring to really master the material. Once it’s time to write the final exam, all your hard work and preparation will pay off, but it can still be a nerve-wracking time especially if you suffer from test anxiety.
Here are some tips to help you remain calm and confident while in the exam hall:
Before answering any questions, take a few minutes to read through the exam. By reviewing all questions as soon as you receive the exam, there are no surprises. Make sure to read all instructions carefully. Often, exams will feature sections where you only need to answer three out of five questions, for example. You don’t want to waste any time answering questions that will not be counted as part of your final mark! If any questions are at all unclear, take time to ask the exam supervisor(s) to clarify. You may know the answer after all, with a better idea of what the question is asking.
After you do a preliminary review of the exam, flag the questions you know you can easily answer first. Write down the key points and concepts of your answer in bullet-form in the margins. It will make you feel more confident knowing that you have already written down all of the information you need in your answer – there is no way you will forget it now.
If you are unsure of how to answer a few of the trickier questions, don’t panic, just leave them to the end. By leaving problem questions until the end, you allow yourself time to let your mind explore different topics as you answer the other questions. Often times, answering other questions you will jog your memory and remember concepts and facts that you may have overlooked initially. At the end of the exam, if you find you still can’t answer the questions fully, answer with the best response you can create given the knowledge you do have. Even if you don’t answer a question fully, it is better to get partial marks for explaining part of a concept, or making an educated guess, rather than receiving a mark of zero for leaving the answer blank.
Good luck with your exams and enjoy your summer!