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Exams and Study Skills

Test taking strategies

Test Anxiety

Preparing well for the test is the best way to reduce test-taking anxiety.

  1. Do not wait until the night before the exam to try to learn new material. Start studying early in the semester and leave the last 2 days before the exam to review. 
  2. Continually thinking about the outcome of the exam will only make you feel stressed. Try to keep your focus on the material you are studying while preparing for the test and during the test, and not on whether you will pass or fail. 
  3. Exercising a few times the week of the exam will help reduce stress.
  4. Try to get a good night's sleep before the test.
  5. Show up to the test early so you do not have to worry about being late.
  6. Stay relaxed. If you begin to get nervous, practice deep breathing to relax yourself and then get back to work.
  7. Read the directions slowly and carefully. If you do not understand the directions on the test, ask the teacher to explain it to you.
  8. Skim through the test so that you have a good idea how to pace yourself.
  9. Write down important formulas, facts, definitions first so you do not worry about forgetting them.
  10. Answer the easier questions first to help build up your confidence for the harder questions.
  11. Concentrate on your own test during the exam and do not worry about how fast other people finish their test. Just because they finished before you does not mean that they were able to answer all the questions. 
  12. If you have difficulty answering a question or feel it will take you more time than necessary, skip it and come back to it later.  Remember, you do not have to get every question right to do well on the test.

Additional Resources

These tips have been adapted from Test Anxiety by HeretoHelp (Anxiety Canada, n.d.) where your can find a variety of resources and tip sheets


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