Test Taking Tips for Finals

The first thing I do when I sit down to take a test is panic. I go blank, stare at the paper for a few minutes, say to myself “I’m going to fail,” then, eventually, I get started. If you’re like me, then you probably suffer from terrible test anxiety. Don’t worry, you and I are not alone. Many suffer from this problem, and with finals coming up, I’m sure that even the most confident test-takers are getting a little scared. But what if I told you there was a way to soften the blow of multiple tests?

In fact, there are several ways to alleviate your test anxiety. Here is a few ways to help you through tough test-taking times.

My favorite tip, and probably the most important, is this: 1) Don’t wait until the last minute to cram, even though you may have made a few decent grades on tests by staying up the entire night before. Make time to study for a few days before the test. This normally increases my confidence that I will do well, which reduces a lot of my stress. Plus, staying up all night is probably not in your best in interest. Study ahead of time!

Next tip: 2) If taking the test in a crowded classroom is too much to handle, ask the professor to accommodate you. TFC professors are reasonable. They will work with you and/or give you a better environment to take the test in. Just make sure to let them know ahead of time.

Next: 3) During the test, if you don’t know the answer to a question, it is definitely okay to leave it blank. You can always come back to questions you didn’t answer, and often the information you need will be triggered by other questions that you read later in the test.

This leads into tip 4): Always go back and recheck your answers. I do this at least twice. And sometimes, I even (probably irrationally) do it four or five times. Don’t be afraid of being the last one taking the test. Taking some extra time to recheck your answers, for me, almost always results in finding wrong answers. Plus, when most of the people have left, there’s a calming effect that makes you less nervous. Plan to spend the entire time working on the test, and don’t be in a hurry.

5) Eat Breakfast. I must admit I have never done this. But eating breakfast helps brain function, and if your brain is functioning better, then you will do better on the test. Plan on getting up a little early to make time for food.

6) Don’t arrive at the test-taking area early. This is what normally happens: you get there early, and students are talking about the test, wondering about possible questions, and just generally freaking out. Spending time in this type of environment is bound to get you nervous, so arrive at the class right on time so you avoid this. Just make sure you’re not late.

We know finals are important—so important that we often freak out about them. While it’s probably impossible to get rid of all of your test anxiety, these tips should alleviate the worst of it and help you to take your test without sweaty palms or a wrenching stomach. Good luck on the upcoming finals!!