How To Deal With Exam Stress: 10 Successful Study Hacks

In this new article you’ll learn how to deal with exam stress.

Although testing is something that many people hate, it is a necessary evil of academia. In fact, testing is one of the most efficient ways to tell whether a person is learning the material or is not. Knowing that taking a test is inevitable does not make the fact any easier to cope with; however, learning how to test the low stress way might help make this inescapable situation seem less of a burden.

You cannot blame the test administrator for causing you stress before a test. Indeed, the problems lies within yourself, whether it is because you are unfamiliar with the material or whether you are the type of person who gets nervous before you test. Regardless of your feelings on the matter, you may find it helpful to consider some helpful tips and tricks to stress free test taking.

You may find that the process of learning does not stop in the classroom. Gaining helpful knowledge on how to take better tests may help you learn the valuable lessons that you could otherwise be missing. Interestingly, in order to take a successful test, you will need to study about ways to do so. Growth is a cycle; and it becomes evident when your skills and knowledge are called upon, such as when you take a test.

It may come as a surprise for some people to hear that some of the most influential minds in the world are terrible test takers. Without the skills and knowledge it takes to prepare and complete a test, these people may have seen their potential squandered. Although taking a test can often be somewhat intimidated, gaining the proper knowledge on how to organize your thoughts and actions on test day makes you a more powerful student.

Most students are undoubtedly taught that “knowledge is power” and for good reason. Indeed when you gain the benefit of new information you can more easily make decisions. You may be inundated with information that you will be tested over; but you want to combine that information with the newfound knowledge about test taking that you will soon gain.

Below are brief descriptions and tips that are used by the world’s best test takers, given to you in an effort to help you be more successful on test day. You do not have to follow the advice to the letter; but do be advised that these things come highly recommended by those who are in the know. The least you could do is take them into consideration; you have nothing to lose but the mindset that has not been working up to this point.

How To Deal With Exam Stress:

1. Ask Questions

You would be surprised by how many people start a test without having all of their questions answered. Although many will say that there is no stupid question, those who have to draw attention to themselves sometimes feel the opposite. Do not be afraid to ask questions, especially while they are still relevant, aka before the test.

If you do not want to be the person who is asking all sorts of questions right before the test, and if you wish to avoid the stress of confusion that not knowing can bring, then you will want to inquire about things you are uncertain about in a timely manner. If you cannot manage that much, then chances are you are going to fail.

The fact is that you are given ample opportunity to become clear about the test rules and what is expected of you before the test is set to begin. There really is no excuse why you should be unsure about anything on test day; but if you ever are, you should never take a lower grade than you deserve because of your pride. You have to remember that most tests are very significant for one reason or another; so fudging it up because you were afraid to ask a simple question is a slight against yourself.

2. Don’t Forget to Study

No matter how confident you may be feeling about the material, taking a quick glance before the test can help. However, if this isn’t an option, you will want to go over the material a few times before the test. Remember that learning a new skill is like walking: it takes practice, it takes effort, and most of your progress is done in short steps.

Most experts agree that if you study long then you study wrong. This certainly has a factual basis, as the success level of those who studied for long periods of time seemed to be worse than those who studied in short, frequent sessions. No matter what your methods are, be sure they are working. If you are studying the same way you always have, then you can rightfully expect the same grades you have always gotten.

Studying may not be fun, but it is necessary. Do not let the stories of people who have been successful test takers without studying deter you from what is important. These people are either lying or lucky; and neither one of those things will help you pass a test. If you want real, solid, concrete results, then you won’t want to pass up your study sessions.

SEE ALSO: How To Motivate Yourself To Read: 6 Great Motivation Tips And Tricks

3. No Cramming

Studying is an art it seems. You do not want to study for long periods of time, but you do not want to try to cram the information into your head either. What you want to do is teach yourself through use of mental finesse.

You should be able to get into some study groups; and if not then you don’t want to give up. Sometimes schedules just do not mesh, and if this is the case for you then you should continue your studies on your own. Make sure you set time aside each day to review your material, in much the same way you set time aside to view your favorite television show. When it is time to take a test, then it is also time to prioritize your time so that you do not have to cram and end up stressing.

4. Quiz Yourself

Why wait for a quiz administered by your instructor to find out what you know and don’t know? If you quiz yourself, the only failing grade you will receive is the one that you give to yourself. There is nobody to take from your GPA or performance status.

Try making yourself some flash cards. Concentrate on the information that you are struggling with first and foremost, and then make supplemental cards around that to create an atmosphere of surprise. This will help you learn to pull the correct information to the front of your thoughts, enabling you to pass the test without so much stress.

Sometimes the information is in your head, but you just cannot pull it out because of the stress you are feeling from having to take a test. You can alleviate this worry by practicing your lessons this way; and you won’t have to worry about being so surprised by the questions on the test later.

5. Get Plenty of Rest

Too many people think it is therapeutic to stay out late or party the night before a test. Still, others stay up all night cramming the information into their brains. Both of these approaches are wrong, and typically leave a person feeling tired, defeated, and too fatigued to think at optimal levels. What you really should be doing the day before the test is getting some rest.

You have been working hard on your studies, making flash cards, and administering yourself quizzes. The day before the test, you should take some time off. This allows your brain to consolidate all of the information you just received, which in turn makes your test taking less stressful.

Imagine being sleepy (or worse, hung over) on the day of the test. How well do you think you will do, even if you studied hard? The answer is that you will not do as well as you could. That realization can be stressful in its own right, so just avoid it by taking this advice and getting adequate rest before the test.

6. Eat a Good Meal

Taking a test on an empty stomach is not only physically uncomfortable, but it is also mentally straining. You cannot concentrate as well as you should be able to when you are hungry. Because of this fact, it is extremely important that you eat a good meal before you take any test.

However, it is not just about how much you eat. Eating a good meal consists of consuming quality foods, and has little to do with quantity. If you have ever eaten a mass of junk food, you surely know how lethargic you feel afterwards. Apply this feeling to the feeling of having to take a test, and you have a dangerous cocktail of failure.

Try eating some hot cereal, some fruit, or a smoothie before the test. Make sure you do so with plenty of time to use the restroom before the test starts. One of the worst things that can happen to your concentration is suddenly having to use the facilities in the middle of the test. Indeed, taking a test requires that you use your time wisely.

7. Have Your Supplies Ready

Managing your time is one thing, but managing your supplies is something else. However, if you are successfully managing your time wisely, then the latter should come across as rather easy to you. Either way, you do not want to show up for the test without the proper supplies.

Make sure that when you are asking questions, you find out what sorts of supplies you can and cannot have during the test. Some tests require you to have certain materials like pencils instead of pens or vice versa, while others state plainly that there are no calculators allowed. You should receive this information in enough time to allow you to prepare; but in case you do not, this should be one of the questions you are not afraid to ask.

What could be worse than taking an entire test only to find out you did it in pen when it called for pencil? Or worse yet, taking a test while using a calculator only to discover that it wasn’t allowed, resulting in a failing grade regardless of your correct answers given. These situations are both disasters, and you can avoid them by showing up with all the right supplies for the test.

SEE ALSO: Effective Studying Techniques For Students: 10 Secrets For Success

8. Dress Comfortably

You could do all of the above, and still find yourself stressing out about a test because of itchy or annoying clothing. Nobody will be paying attention to what you are wearing; indeed, everybody will be worrying about their own test results. For these reasons, you should always prepare to wear comfortable clothing when you are taking a test.

If possible, wear some lounge clothes. If this is not possible for you, then try your best to wear your most comfortable version of the clothes required of you. Either way, you will want to bring some sort of over clothing, as sitting for long periods of time slows the blood flow resulting in your body becoming cold.

Take this into consideration when picking out your clothes for test day. You will most likely be inside in a temperature controlled room, which means that you will likely start to get a chill after some time. Shivering is just as uncomfortable as tugging on a shirt or constantly fixing your shoes or pants. Think ahead and prepare accordingly.

9. Test in Private if Possible

If it is at all possible, try to test in a secluded place. This may not be an option if you are testing in a group. However, there are measures you can take to give yourself privacy even in these situations.

You might be able to create a makeshift “fortress” for test day by using an unfolded folder or two. This is a technique that many teachers use to keep students from cheating, but it is also helpful for those who wish to be secluded during testing. Whatever you decide to do, you will need to clear it with instructor beforehand. This is another question you will want to ask if you do not already know.

If it is possible to test in private, you should opt to do so. This helps take the pressures of being watched by several people less of a burden. You may still be supervised by your instructor, but that is not as bad as a room full of people. Testing in private does not guarantee that you will get successful results; you will need to make sure the area in which you test in free from distractions as well.

10. Test the Low Stress Way

If you follow all of these tips and tricks in a way which suits your personal test taking needs, then you should be able to see yourself become more successful on test day. Those who use these techniques see an increase in their ability to retain information, as well as the improved ability to recall the information as needed.

You have to remember that your test is most likely over something that is important, something that is required for you to know, or something that you will need for your career of choice. Because of this, you should always take tests seriously. Learning ways in which you can improve your testing skills and reduce stress while taking them can only serve to help you become a more successful person in your endeavors.

Being a responsible and efficient studier and test taker contains a whole host of skills that can be carried over into real world applications. Aside from the information you are learning from the material covered in the test, learning how to test the low stress way means that you can learn time management methods, confidence, and become more familiar with your particular means of learning.

Remember that not everybody learns the same way. How your instructor presents it is one way, but studying outside of the classroom reinforces the information in way that is easy for you to understand. If flashcards do not work for you, then try another method that does. There are people who learn visually, while others learn by listening or doing. You will want to become more familiar with what type of learner you are; and preparing for a test is the best way to do that.

Some of the most successful test takers in the world use these methods, while others swear by a whole other set of techniques. Finding out if they work for you should not cost you your grade, so if you do not feel comfortable with any of them, then leave them out of your test taking regimen. At the end of the day, you will want to do what works best for you, ensuring that you know how to test the low stress way.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to deal with exam stress. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here