Taking a Test: Keys that Will Help You Prepare

Taking a test, in many cases, is a stressful experience. Discover some keys that may help you prepare for it in this article!
Taking a Test: Keys that Will Help You Prepare

Last update: 07 January, 2019

Taking a test, in many cases, is a stressful experience. You must put all your effort into trying to pass. Additionally, you hope you don’t suffer an anxiety attack, memory blocks, or other unexpected things when you’re taking a test.

Taking a test: The moment when you have to show what you’ve learned

Right when the test date is announced, some students start to feel the pressure. We create stress when our body prepares itself to act. Specifically, the sympathetic nervous system intervenes to react to challenges. However, since the challenge will last longer than the sympathetic system can withstand, the parasympathetic system acts to regain hormonal balance.

By studying with other people beforehand, taking a test may become easier.

These two systems will clash right up until the end of the exam. By then, our  body will have experienced numerous ups and downs that adversely affect our health. For example, we’ll have high adrenaline and cortisol levels over a prolonged period of time.

The purpose of the stress reaction is to prepare our body to face threats in the short term. However, it’s not ready to do so for long periods of time. This can affect the production of lymphocytes.

Consequently, our immune system may be more vulnerable to diseases. Additionally, its antiviral or antibacterial responses may be affected. In fact, it’s common for many students to get sick during or after a test.

Keys to taking a test

Preparing ourselves psychologically for taking a test is not an easy task. As we’ve seen, a test can affect our physical health. Nevertheless, the psychological component is fundamental.

Students can experience mental blocks that can make them feel like they’re not fully prepared for a test. This means that the way we study or the time we dedicate to studying may influence everything.

Studying is a process that has several stages

As a general rule,  students don’t start studying when they first sit down to do so. However, the first contact with the information is an essential step that will help their brain assimilate it and codify it in their memory, thus increasing their chances of remembering it.

It’s important to take advantage of this first contact that will help us start digesting the information. Doing so may help us learn it faster later on and will save us from unnecessary stress. In particular, we won’t feel like we need more time to study and it can also help us plan our study schedule more accurately.

Support is essential

Whether it’s to clear up some doubts with a teacher or to study in the company of other people who are going to be taking the same test, working as a team often makes us more efficient. Thus, we need support before we take a test.

Students do well when they look for support or exchange ideas with other people. Also, explaining the study guide to others may help them memorize it faster.

Group study sessions are very effective for taking a test.

Mock exam

Tests usually have structures, which we should know if we want to master them. For example, knowing the number of exercises or tasks or the duration of the exam in advance will help to create a mental image of it. Thus, recreating a test can have a really positive impact. If a student does this, on the day of the test they’ll feel like they’ve already faced a similar situation.

Relaxation is important

As we’ve already seen, the high stress levels tests cause can take a toll later. Since these levels increase on the day of the test, it’s useful to resort to some simple relaxation exercises that will help us on that dreaded day. They can help us avoid drawing blanks.

In particular, these exercises should consist of increasing our capacity to fill our lungs, causing them to expand. This will help us avoid the characteristic rapid heart rate during tests.

These keys can help us make taking a test a more bearable task. However, this doesn’t mean that we should reject stress entirely since it helps us react quickly to unforeseen events, which can be useful on the day of the exam.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.