Surviving Finals

December 5, 2013 Features

With exams around the corner, many may have already started experiencing anxiety for this stressful part of the semester. Although not everyone experiences stress or anxiety for exams, it’s always nice to leave for a holiday vacation knowing you aced your exams. Here is some information about what test anxiety is, what causes it, and how to overcome it.

A recent study completely by University of St. Andrews in Scotland shows that exam anxiety can include anything from a simple worry about the final evaluation of a class to apprehension of the consequences of not succeeding. Testing anxiety can stem from inefficient studying skills and poor timing, to psychological factors including feelings of no control over the exam situation, negative thinking, and self-criticism.

Ways to avoid letting these thoughts and actions get the best of you are implementing these helpful tips into your preparation for the exam:

1) Plan your study time. Studies have shown that breaking your review sessions up is far more helpful than sitting down and cramming last minute. Sitting down and studying for 45-50 minutes at a time with a 10-minute break in between has proven to be very beneficial for students.

2) Get accurate information. Checking your course syllabus and making sure the time you are spending to study is on necessary information you will be tested on. It also doesn’t hurt to ask the teacher what chapters or material will be covered on the test to ensure that all of your time is spent on studying the required material and not wasting it on unnecessary course material.

3) Get yourself in exam mode. If your teacher has given you practice exams or study guides, use them! Looking at study guides or even simply past exams always helps because they are essentially individual, shorter versions of the final exam.

4) Maintain a healthy life style. Experimenting before an exam is never a good thing. If you don’t normally drink coffee, don’t do it the day of your exam. Try to stick to the routine you trust and are used to, which will ensure you are comfortable during the exam. Make sure you get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise, as well as positivity. Don’t surround yourself around negativity before an exam because it will only feed into any anxiety you have or spark it up.

5) Finally, and most importantly: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Going into an exam thinking you can’t succeed is the worst way to go about it. No matter the situation, having a little faith in yourself goes a long way. Believing in yourself is the most important part in exam taking because it will allow you to take all the time and energy you have spent studying and actually allow yourself to implement that and indeed succeed!

Overall, exams are just a piece of paper. Not to say you shouldn’t study, but testing anxiety is not worth the extra stress and you shouldn’t let it get the best of you. Implementing these tips into your studying regimen should help you succeed and hopefully end the semester on a strong note! Good luck to everyone taking exams and have safe and happy holidays!

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