Most of us feel nervous when taking tests and exams, especially when they are in a stressful environment, like for a pre-interview for a job.
Test anxiety affects adults and children alike, presenting itself as:
- Feeling like you haven’t done enough preparation.
- Struggling to remember the information you have learned.
- Becoming preoccupied with thoughts of failure and distraction.
- Putting off studying for as long as possible.
But one of the most effective ways to overcome test anxiety is to create an efficient preparation strategy that helps you perform at your best.
Here are Five Ways to Improve Your Test Results and unlock your potential:
1. Write Down Key Information You Remember At the Start Of the Test
Make a note of the most important facts and insights you can remember at the start of the test. Provided anxiety hasn’t actually wiped your memory clean within the first minute or so, just dump as much valuable information on your paper as you can.
This might be dates, stats, equations, names, locations — anything and everything you’ve committed to memory and don’t want to forget.
2. Always, Always Read Instructions and Questions Carefully
It’s easy to misunderstand instructions and/or questions when you’re eager to dive straight into your answers.
But you may only think you’ve seen certain words or phrases and waste precious time answering questions that were never asked.
That’s why it’s so crucial to re-read directions and questions multiple times to ensure you know exactly what the examiners want to see. Only proceed when you feel confident you understand what you’re being asked to do.
3. Take a Preparation Test to Boost Your Confidence
One of the many marvels of the digital age is the availability of online prep tests. These offer you the chance to get an authentic taste of upcoming exams and improve your confidence.
Some practice packages, such as this Rapid Wonderlic Mastery Course, leverage different types of media for an in-depth, engaging prep process. Videos offer expert tips and instructions, while practice questions put your mind into ‘test mode’.
You may even learn how to reduce your response time, understand your mistakes and more.
4. Immerse Yourself in Realistic Test Conditions
Simulate the conditions you expect to be in during the exam. This can help to minimize the impact that sitting in a cold, clinical test room makes on your state of mind when you’re used to answering similar questions at home.
Undertake your test prep and practice exams at a desk like the one you’ll use on the day. Try to create a silent environment (if possible) with no distractions, snacks or resources. Focus on getting used to the isolation and nerves, so you can concentrate more effectively during the real test.
Try to put the exam in perspective and visualize yourself doing well. The more prepared you are for the actual test conditions and environment, the less anxious you might feel.
5. Don’t Procrastinate or Aim for Perfection
Procrastination and chasing perfection can prevent you from making as much progress as you should.
Obviously, a multiple choice-based test offers less room to procrastinate than, say, an exam demanding answers hundreds of words in length. But try to get your responses on the page in the most articulate way you can without revising too much.
You want your answers to be well-written and legible, but there’s no need to use “sophisticated” or “clever” language in an effort to show off.
Work quickly and allow yourself time to review your answers at the end of the test. This gives you the space to fix mistakes and ensure your writing is clear.
Follow these five tips to improve your test-taking skills and achieve the results you deserve. Try to stay positive, believe in yourself and take advantage of all the practice resources available.