Test anxiety isn't just experienced by kids. In fact, it can be intensified for adults who've been out of the formal education setting for some time. Just because you're a grown-up doesn't mean you don't get nervous about things. Some adult students feel like they have to have everything under control in their lives simply because they're the head of their family or at a particular position in life. This mindset couldn't be further from the truth. Here are some ways to tackle test anxiety and move on toward college success.
photo by bark (He's obviously not a college mom, but I know we've all felt the way he looks!)
Nothing can reduce test anxiety better than being prepared. We all know that. But how can you ensure you'll be ready for the big exam? While there are no guarantees, taking time over a few weeks to review the test material and read over your notes will improve your chances of retaining the information come test time. Things are often hectic in the lives of adult students. Find your best time of day to schedule regular study sessions and stick to them, and before you know it, you'll be feeling confident and prepared for almost any exam.
Practice Mind Over Matter
So often we talk ourselves into thinking the worst, telling ourselves we can't do it or we're not prepared. We may even find ourselves thinking that we're too old. Banish that negative self-talk! You've got the life experience and skills to succeed. Remember a time when you accomplished a difficult goal and use the memory of that past success to propel you forward. Also, consider the worst case scenario. What is the worst that can happen if you go in there and do your best, but the results aren't what you were hoping for? Chances are you can redeem yourself with the next exam. Worst case scenario, you may have to retake the class. Many school policies allow a course to be retaken without penalty, and repeat exposure to the information will increase your understanding of the material. You'll be fine.
Deal With It
There are even some proactive measure you can take the day of and during the test to deal with test anxiety. Get plenty of sleep, have a good breakfast and exercise. It may seem obvious, but taking care of yourself physically will do wonders for your emotions as well. Arrive at class early and practice some deep breathing to get yourself in the right frame of mind and to be sure you're not rushed. Look over the exam to get a feel for how long it will take you to complete. You don't want to spend too long on one section, so go ahead an move on if there are any questions you feel stuck on. Don't hesitate to ask the instructor if you have questions or if things are unclear. You don't want to lose points due to a misunderstanding. Write down hints or formulas in the margins to help you remember important information. Also, fill in any information you know, even if you know you haven't answered a question in its entirety. Partial credit is better than none at all. Finally, don't worry about how quickly others are finishing. Take all the time you need to feel confident that you completed the exam to the best of your ability.
These tips should help you to feel more confident in taking on a big test or exam. If you feel that you are overly anxious or just aren't coping well with the thought of exams, please head to your school's academic advisement or counseling center for help. You're in charge of your educational success, and you can do it!