10 Tips for Reducing Exam Anxiety

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10 Tips for Reducing Exam Anxiety

10 Tips for Reducing Exam AnxietyLearning Support ServicesMacOdrum Library, fourth floorcarleton.ca/lss613-520-2600 ext. 1125


10 Tips for Reducing Exam Anxiety1. Be preparedKnowing the material you’re going to be testedon is the best way to reduce (or eliminate) examanxiety.2. Keep it in perspectiveSet a realistic goal for the grade you want toearn on your exam and then work towardsit. Don’t let fears about your performanceoverwhelm you–your entire future doesn’thinge on this one exam. Also, ensure that theamount of time you spend studying for an examis reflective of its value in your overall coursegrade–don’t study excessively for an exam that’sonly worth 10 per cent of your final mark.3. Avoid crammingIf you spread out studying throughout the entireterm, you’ll avoid having to cram before theexam. Cramming usually involves memorizingmaterial but the pressure of an exam limits yourability to recall memorized information. Takingthe time to review and reflect on course materialthroughout the term improves your ability torecall what you’ve learned when you need to.4. RelaxIs your stomach doing somersaults as you enterthe exam room? You’re not the only studentfeeling this way. Stress is a natural responsethat most students experience when confrontedby exams. If you begin to feel overly anxiousbefore or during the exam, use deep breathingor other relaxation techniques to calm yourselfand stay focused.5. Eliminate negative thoughtsYou can minimize exam anxiety through selfmonitoring–interruptingnegative thoughts andusing positive self-talk. Focus on what you doknow, rather than on what you don’t. Build yourconfidence through rational thinking. If you feelyou aren’t meeting the goals you set out foryourself, make a note of the progress you’remaking and take measures to improve yourperformance the next time.6. Focus on the present, not the futureThinking you should have studied more, or thatpoor performance will negatively impact yourfinal grade will distract you from the task athand. Focus your energy on managing thingsyou can currently control (like relaxing andthinking positively).7. Know what to expectUncertainty can lead to anxiety. Set realisticexpectations for what you think will be on theexam by generating a list of possible questionsfrom your notes. Seeing questions on the examthat you predicted will reinforce the fact thatyou’re well-prepared. Also, being preparedmeans that you will feel more confident andless inclined to consider cheating. Cheating ontests and exams is a violation of the AcademicIntegrity Policy. Examples of violations andsanctions, as well as the full policy, are availableat carleton.ca/studentaffairs.8. Arrive earlyEliminate the stress of being late for an examby planning to arrive early. While waiting forthe exam to begin, try a relaxing activity, likereading a magazine or taking a walk. Anxietyis contagious, so try to steer clear of otherstudents who seem to be giving in to theirnervousness.9. Stay alertWhen focusing on studying and exampreparation, it’s easy to neglect your physicalhealth. Remember that if your body is worndown, your brain will be too. Make a concertedeffort to eat and sleep properly during the examperiod. Also, do your best to limit your caffeineand sugar intake, as both can increase yourstress level.10. Stick with your routineChanging your sleeping pattern or diet in thedays leading up to exams may take you out ofyour comfort zone. Even though it’s difficult tomanage your time during an exam period, try tomaintain a productive and healthy routine.210-09 5M 09

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