To be nervous before taking a test is normal, it’s actually a good thing. Scientists have proven that test takers generally do better when they are little nervous before their exam. However, there is also a negative impact of nervousness and stress when taking an exam especially if you let the stress control you and occupy your mind rather than focusing on the task at hand.
A key factor when it comes to reducing stress when taking a test is to get into a positive rhythm and sense of forward movement.
Students often come to us and explain that they underachieved on their test because they were so stressed throughout the exam. After asking the students a few questions we realized that 90% of these students had difficulties with the first question on the test. What was interesting is that instead of skipping the first question they panicked, wasted time, and got stuck on the first question.
So the first few questions are crucial to get into a positive flow. If you are stuck with a question in the beginning skip it and try to answer it later. If you have no clue what the answer is…guess! Remember there is still a chance that you will choose the right answer, so there is no need to panic if you are uncertain.
Another aspect that’s important for reducing stress when taking a test is to actually practice your test taking skills. Take your computer and go to a coffee shop a couple times before taking the exam. By taking practice tests in an environment where you have people around, you learn to focus on the questions rather than distractions around you.
Other small details to remember are, to leave early so you have plenty of time to get to the test center. If you are rushing to the test center you will definitely be stressed and speed through the test. Think of what you can achieve with a good score rather than thinking of failing. Do not try to cram a lot of information the night before taking the test, it’s better to just review a little and get a good night sleep.
There is no better help for stress when taking a test than being fully prepared. By taking practice tests and putting yourself in an environment which simulates the actual test, you will feel relaxed and ready to give it your best on the day of the exam.