With high school comes more responsibilities which also includes academics. Your parents have less of a hand in your school life and you are now held more accountable for things. Hearing a teacher say “There will be a test” usually flips on the stress switch for high schoolers. But preparing for a test doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. These are some steps that you can take leading up to a test that will help ease test anxiety and increase your confidence on the big day.
One Month Prior to Test
- The key to easy studying is keeping organized notes. Use a binder or notebook with tabs to separate each subject. Keeping everything for a class in one spot will help you when you are preparing to study for a test.
- Studying is an active process. It should be ongoing throughout your semester. Studies have shown that the more exposure your brain has to something, the more likely you are to remember it. So looking over your notes daily for 10-15 minutes can help you retain more information. Waiting until the night before to cram for a test can cause brain fatigue and anxiety.
One Week Prior to Test
- Your teachers want you to succeed and want to help you. Reach out to them and ask questions like “What types of questions will be on the test?” and “What resources should I be studying.” You can use this information to make flashcards, Quizlets, or even sample multiple choice questions. These will help you have a clear and tangible way to study.
- Studies have shown that by using chunking to study, people are able to remember more information. Chunking refers to “a kind of cognitive compression mechanism wherein we parse information into chunks that are more memorable and easier to process than the seemingly random bits of which they’re composed.”
Day Before the Test
- The afternoon and evening before your test should be relaxing. Go back over your study guide and/or notes but don’t cram for too long. Studying for hours the night before could actually have negative effects on your test performance.
- Before you go to bed make sure you prepare all your materials you will need for the next day to ensure a stress free morning. Do things like lay out your clothes, pack your book bag, and make sure to set an alarm.
- Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of preparing yourself and your brain for a test. Ghent University conducted a study that concluded “students who generally got a good night’s sleep performed better on exams.”
Day of Test
- The morning before your test, make sure to eat a well balanced and filling breakfast. According to Prep Expert, you should eat complex carbs (like fruits and veggies) and proteins (like whole grain cereal and oatmeal) to help you stay full and satisfied longer.
- If you are allowed, bring gum to your testing session that you can chew while working. There have been studies that have shown chewing gum can increase alertness by as much as 10%.
These are just a few of the things you should be doing as test day approaches. Find the study habits that work best for you. If you stay consistent with your habits, you’ll definitely notice an increase in your average scores in no time!