One night before exam:
Review the night before:
This doesn’t mean pulling an all-nighter or cramming material you don’t understand. Stafford warns that cramming will “create unneeded anxiety because you know you did it last minute.” Instead, Shepard says to take the night before to “use the notes you’ve been preparing, and review them religiously.” If you’ve stayed on top of your work and prepared throughout the entire semester, you will be able to recall information as it is more embedded. Relax, be confident, and review, review, review!
Get your eight hours of sleep:
Shephard warns, you shouldn’t “neglect your body in your attempt to cram. A well-rested body is at least AS important as those last flips through your notes.” You know it’s time to sleep when “resting your eyes” sounds like a good idea, and you’ve started attributing your continuous yawns to “not enough oxygen.” Put your books away and call it a night!
Day of exam:
Stafford suggests arriving to the exam room early so you can “get comfortable with your surroundings and you don’t feel rushed.” If you usually grab Starbucks every morning, make sure you have time to do so. Maintaining your normal daily routine is essential to eliminating any unnecessary stress!
Test-taking anxiety is common. And Stafford suggests that if you “feel you get anxiety during every exam you take, blank out, get hot, and can’t concentrate, you may suffer from test anxiety.” There are remedies for this. Check out your student resource center to see a counselor. This way you’ll learn how to focus on every exam! But if your jitters are just temporary and you need instant stress relief, breathe, stretch, and relax—keep in mind you’ll be done with the class completely in less than three hours!
Good luck, collegiettes! We know you’ll do awesome. Share your own test-taking tips below!
Taylor, Boston University
Alex, Boston University
Spencer, University of Colorado, Boulder
Max, Quinnipiac University
Abigail, Lasell College
Adam Shepard, The Best Four Years: How to Survive and Thrive in College (and Life)
Bethany Stafford, College Studying Styles