The main means of showing how well you are doing in your education is to test your knowledge; what you have memorized. Most of the big tests are announced well in advance, and that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. The problem that results from this often shows in a poor score, even if you actually know the material fairly well.
The following tips range in scope from a simple chapter test through midterms, finals and even college entrance exams. Most of them will work for all tests, but a few are specific.
Exercise: You won’t want enough to make you tired, but a quick walk or jog can help clear your mind, improve blood flow to your brain and help you relax. The endorphins released during this exercise will also be beneficial. Regular exercise has been shown to improve test scores across the board.
Follow Your Normal Routines: There are times when that won’t be possible, but most of the time it is. Now isn’t the time to try out a new breakfast cereal or beg off from a usual morning chore. The routine will help you feel that this is just one more day, and the world isn’t going to end because you’re taking a test.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep: The human body requires between seven and nine hours of sleep on a regular basis. Sleep does more than rest your body, it allows your brain to assimilate all that’s been put into it in the recent past, which includes any studying or prep work you’ve done to get ready for your test. It’s also a lot easier to take a test if you aren’t yawning and fuzzy minded.
Hold the Caffeine: Caffeine does a few things that will make your anxiety worse. First, it can stop you from falling asleep. Second, it can destroy serotonin, a hormone that is related both to sleep and relaxation. Third, it makes your eyes blurry and your hands shake. None of these are good for tests.
No Cramming Zone: It’s a well known myth. Cramming, i.e. staying up all night to study, does not help the end result. In fact, if you do so, you’re doing most of the things on this list that will cause a poor score. If you haven’t learned it by now, staying awake all night is not going to help.
Herbs that Help: Most of the herbs I’ll mention should be used the day before. They cause drowsiness and could make it difficult to concentrate. Chamomile, jasmine, lavender and passionflower, both singly or in combination, can help calm jittery nerves and allow you to relax. On the day of the test, peppermint, especially as aromatherapy, can increase your ability to concentrate. Check with your doctor before using any herbs.
If Allowed, Bring Water: This is for the longer tests, such as the ACT or SAT. Remaining hydrated is important for your entire body, but especially your brain. Nerves, dry air and other environmental problems could cause you to dehydrate.
Study Regularly: Having a regular study routine makes test preparations much easier. Going over your class notes, writing down questions you may have about the material and finding the answers can put what you’re learning into long term memory, where it can be easily accessed.
Read Notes Right Before the Test: You can’t really do that for the larger tests, but I’ve found that reading my notes just before a chapter test or others of its nature put much of the information also into short term memory. That helps greatly in getting a good grade.
Testing is an important part of your education. It doesn’t have to fill you with dread, as long as you follow these rules. For more study information talk to your teachers and/or counselors. Your success keeps them in a job.