Finals season! Its here! Or you’ve finished- good for you!
Some of my most commonly asked questions this time of year include HOW much studying is enough? HOW do I know what’s going to be on the final? WHAT do I need to get on the test to get an A??
My immediate reaction is to shoot these questions down. Especially before a big test, if you are a good student and have been up on your work all quarter, chances are high that you are prepared.
What students often neglect is their MENTAL HEALTH and STATE OF MIND. Regardless of whether you are prepared or not, if your mindset is that of panic, your odds of doing well are lower (1)
Before any test, especially a large test, I have found that a couple little things make a HUGE difference. I advise my students to follow these and to take a deep breath
- STOP studying at 7. You heard it here first! Do NOT study late into the night the night before a test. There are many cons to studying too late. First of all, sleep is necessary, you need to rest your brain. Remember it is a muscle!! If you walked all night what makes you think that would make you better off for a marathon the next day? ALSO, staying up late can really put you at risk for psyching yourself out. In the wee hours of the night it is easy to work yourself into a panic and convince yourself you do not know a concept you do in fact know. A relaxing night and a good nights sleep before a test is far more important than trying to teach yourself more information, trust me.
- Dress Well Test Well. What I mean by this is wear something you look and feel good in. You have to believe it is going to be a good day to have a good day! By wearing PJ’s you run the risk of literally getting too comfy and falling asleep. I have seen this happen before. ALSO, dressing well is an extra boost of confidence. Use it to your advantage! Pick an outfit you like the NIGHT BEFORE, and strut your stuff into that test!
- Turn your phone OFF. You worked hard studying for this test (or maybe you didnt, I dont know) so give the test your 100% attention. This means putting your phone on airplane mode or turning it off AN HOUR BEFORE. I am so dead serious about this one. Remove your distractions and just focus on relaxing. Phones have been proven to increase anxiety (2), and the last thing you need is something to worry about! Preserve that happy little brain of yours! Instagram, Snapchat, and all your group chats can wait, I promise.
- Put things into perspective. At the end of the day, this is just a test. First of all, you made it to the test, which is an accomplishment in and of itself, so congrats! Second, a test is another step in your education
- Get up and take a breather. Sometimes nothing helps more than a little fresh air. Getting tired? Get up and walk. Too hyped on caffeine? Get up and walk. Freaking out? Get up and walk. Taking five minutes out of your test to mentally reset is far greater than being in an unfocused headspace and saving the time.
Got it?? Okay GOOD! Although this list isn’t a be all end all, I believe it applies well to both high school, college, and other testing environments. Have any other tips that have helped you? Please contribute below!
(1)Stöber, Joachim, and Reinhard Pekrun. “Advances in Test Anxiety Research.” Anxiety, Stress & Coping, vol. 17, no. 3, 2004, pp. 205–211., doi:10.1080/1061580412331303225.
(2)Twenge, Jean M. “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Mar. 2018, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/.