- Studies conducted by the University of Chicago have found that when students spent 10 minutes writing about their test anxiety and fears just before a test, their scores went up by 5%. Those who didn’t perform writing exercises “choked under pressure” and their test scores dropped by 12 percent. By writing down your worries, you free your working memory and prevent distractions during the test, so give it a try and wave those bad grades goodbye!
- To reduce test-anxiety, talk to yourself. The brain is very susceptible to positive suggestions.
- Create mantras and repeat these as many times as possible each day. The more you repeat your mantras, the more they get engrained into your subconscious mind, which controls most aspects involved in anxiety. Examples of mantras and positive self-talk include:
During exam prep sessions:
- “Each mistake is an opportunity to learn”.
- “Each time I make a mistake at home is one less mistake that I’ll make in the exam room.”
- “Of course I’m going to get these questions wrong. I need to learn the theory first.”
- “It’s only natural that I get questions wrong at this stage. I need to be more realistic and patient with myself!”
Before the exam:
- “Worrying will get me no-where. It won’t change the exam paper – so chill.”
- “Let’s see what mark I can get. Could I get an A? Challenge accepted!”
- “Let’s aim for a D. Any marks on top of that will be a bonus.”
In the exam room:
- “I’m a pretty good student, which means that everyone else must also be struggling with this.”
- “In the end, it’s not what mark I get, it’s what I get in comparison to the rest of the state.”
- “If I get this question wrong, it’s only one question out of many. It’s OK.”
- “Now let’s see, just exactly what are they trying to say?”
- “I made some notes on that – towards the end of the summaries on the yellow sheets.”
- “Don’t get anxious…stop a minute and take a couple of deep breaths – relax my muscles.”
- “Think about it. Will letting myself get anxious change anything?”
- “Oh, oh, I don’t remember that … well, I’ll come back to this later.”
- “I’m not sure of this, but I’ll start writing and maybe that will get me onto the right track.”
- “I’m doing O.K. I’ll ace this.”