So you’ve been accepted to college: Congratulations! You are only a few years away from graduating into your dream profession; it’s a big deal. And with all that excitement comes immense pressure and responsibility. On your journey through college, you’ll realize what comes naturally to you may not come so easy to others, and vise versa. However there is one very important and reoccurring thing that a majority of student’s will stress over: test-taking. The late nights, the breakdowns, the endless amounts of energy drinks and desperate prayers; we’ve all been there. But fear no more, upon extensive research and deep personal reflection, we have collectively come up with a few strategies for stress-free test-taking.
Before the Test: Studying
Time management. We’ve all heard it before from parents and professors alike, but it isn’t something to be taking lightly. I find the best thing for study and test preparation is putting time aside to rest. Sleep is essential to studying; when you are well rested you can concentrate and retain more information. Also, giving yourself a good amount of time before your test to study is far more effective than trying to cram a semesters worth of information in one night. Front-loading is designating more time to finish assignments earlier, leaving you with less things to accomplish closer to the test, thus leaving more time open to study come test time. Our advice? Make a schedule where you can study for a couple of hours and take a break; do not over do it and burn out, make time to rest and breathe! Need proof? Take a look at this video by the creators over at ASAPScience:
Additionally, know your learning style. Something many students struggle with is memorizing a lot of information in a short period of time. We took some time for research and looked into some articles about different learning styles, which look at different methods of studying and different forms of learning. After searching into the different styles, I personally have a better understanding of what study tips would be most beneficial to me. For example, visual learners, in order for something to stick they need to do something physical with that information. This could be making cue cards, colour coating notes or teach someone else about the topic. This is also referred to as kinesthetic learning. Auditory and hands on are other types of learning styles that may work for you, so do some research and make your life a thousand times easier!
(Original Media: Photo by Melissa Pigg)
First things first, take a deep breath and be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need ready the night before so you don’t forget anything. This could include anything from a calculator and a formula sheet, to a pencil and eraser! Now, majority of tests have time limits that you must accomplish all of the test in a designated time. You want to keep yourself on track and not spend too much time on each question. Firstly, you should skim the questions on your test so you have an idea of how much time you should spend on each section (multiple choice, short answers, essay question). Know your strengths, start with what you know well to be able to maximize your time for questions you may need more time on at the end of the test. If you find yourself stuck on a question, leave it and return to it later. It’s better to move on and take a break from a question than to spend too much time on one question that you don’t finish the rest of the test. Lastly, look over your answers and proof read your test. This extra 5 minutes could spare you a mark or two in the end.
When all is said and done, if you find what works for you and do your best, there is no failing. Remember to rest and relax, a mind at ease is a brain prepared to learn. Additionally, know what works for you; not everything will come as easy to you as it does to others. Put in the hours, know how your brain works, and don’t let it get to you. Take your time during the test, focus on what you know, and don’t forget to proof read for that extra insurance. If you walk into the examination room as prepared as we are trying to assist you in being, the pre-test stress will be no more. And remind yourself you’re doing this for you, and your future is in your hands, now go get ‘em.