Are you the type of person who panics before a major exam?
Or are you the person who read and reread the same exam question 5 or more times?
Do you tend to make mistakes in simple questions you know because you are panicking during the test?
If you answer yes to any one of these questions, you are not the only one who has test anxiety. It is normal to feel anxious during a test because it could mean a lot to your grade. However, some often become anxious because they are taking the test too seriously or they are double guessing themselves, which can lead to trouble.
Having test anxiety can be a problem for your schoolwork if you cannot control it. Sometimes, you may end up experiencing analysis paralysis.
This usually happens when:
1) You encounter complex essay questions that require you to look at various dimensions to answer the question. During these times, you only focus on one aspect of the scenario provided. As a result, you miss out the key details you need to answer the question.
2) You usually find yourself unable to begin answering a question since there is a lot of ways to answer it. If you think of these ways too much, you will spend a lot of time on that question and ignore the rest of the test.
3) You encounter long multiple-choice questions that can be confusing. Sometimes, you may find yourself going too deeply in the question and find yourself unable to find the right choice.
Overthinking during an exam can really hurt
If you are indeed the type of person who experiences severe test anxiety, you need to stop overthinking. There is a big risk that you will fail your test because you were not able to complete the test.
Here are some tips on how you can stop overthinking during your exams:
Stop being a perfectionist
If you dream of always having 100% in your tests, it can be tricky to keep up with it. There will be times that some questions will be too much for you to answer and you will need to leave it blank.
Don’t feel bad if you do this because it is possible that you have not practised that specific question or it wasn’t fully explained in your classes.
One question at a time
When you are taking your test, take one question at a time. Focus and take your time to answer these questions.
If you are finished with one question, do not linger on it if you start to have doubts. Move on to the next one and focus on that next question.
If you have some extra time, you can go back to that question and revise your answers as needed.
Do not spend too much time on any one question
Before you go answer your test, have a plan in place on how you will answer each question.
Skim through it briefly and look at how many minutes you should spend on each question. Do the hard questions last, like open-ended essay questions, so you can do the easy ones first. You can also mark them if you want to revise your answers.
If you often overthink your answers, leaving the hard questions last will also help you brainstorm for the right answers.
Of course, you need to lay down a time limit on how much time you can allot to these hard questions. This will allow you to jump into the next one and see how you can answer them.
For multiple-choice questions, don’t read too much between the lines. Read it once then ask yourself what could be the right answer. If there’s a choice that matches your answer, pick that one and move on to the next one.
Use the scratch paper and calculators if provided
When you are taking tests that allow you to use exam aids like scratch papers and calculators, you can take the question apart by writing notes on the scratch paper. This will help you focus and find the right answer to your question.
If you are doing the math test, use the calculator to double-check your calculations. If you are not allowed to use a calculator, use the scratch paper provided.
During exam preparations, you should also practice your computations and calculator skills.
Sometimes, our thoughts can have an impact on how we will look at everything we do.
If we think we will fail, our unconscious will push to that conclusion even if you prepared for the exam. Negativity will breed insecurity and low self-esteem. However, if you think positive and believe in your skills, you will be able to do well.
The paper before you may be the most important exam in your academic years. However, if you are too stressed out, all your preparations will be in vain. Relax! Experiments show that a person who is relaxed during a test can actually do well in a test.
Once you finish your test, take a few minutes to proofread and review your answers. If you need to change something, do it.
Once you submit your test, go home afterwards and don’t linger. The more you stay at school or the test center, the more you hear comments from your fellow examinees about their test and the more you will over worry. When you get home, reward yourself for a job well done and hope that you will get the result you want.
Taking a test, especially major ones like O’ Levels and A’ Levels, can be a daunting experience. If you fail your test, you will need to retake it or affect your chances in getting into the school you want. However, you should not panic and think too much about it. Having sufficient practice helps a lot. You can find free exam papers to download and practice.
If you have reviewed before the test, relax and focus, you will be able to ace your test. Alternatively, you can engage a tutor to help you to prep for any upcoming exams.
We hope that these tips can help you out and we wish you good luck with your exams!
Still feeling nervous about exams? Here are some more tips to help you to combat stress: