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5 Tips to Help You Ace Your First Test of the Semester

With the first day of classes almost two weeks behind us, the time has come to think about the thing most students dread: the first test of the semester. If you’re taking classes with a new professor, you might be unsure about how the tests are going to be set up. Multiple-choice? Short answer? Matching? (Lol, you wish.) But have no fear— Her Campus has compiled a list of tips to help you bust your test anxiety and knock your first exams out of the park!

1. Be Prepared. Before the test, your professor will let you know what materials you need to bring. If you need a scantron, a Blue Book, your own paper, a pen with black ink only, two number-two pencils…the list goes on. The materials you’ll need will depend on the subject matter, of course. If it’s the last class before the exam and your professor hasn’t specified, don’t be afraid to ask! It’s better to do that than to show up with notebook paper and a pen when everyone else brought a scantron. 

2. Study Realistically.  If the test you’re studying for isn’t your strongest subject, be real with yourself about it: you’ll need to study longer for that exam. Set out all of your materials, put your phone on Airplane Mode, and get crackin’. Study uninterrupted for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. On your third break, treat yourself to 15 minutes and get a snack, walk around, cry a little, and get back to your desk for another round. 

3. Practice without Notes. This goes with being realistic about your abilities. Trying some practice problems without the help of your notes or textbook will help you see and understand where your weaknesses are, and you can spend more time on those areas during your study sessions. 

4. Don’t Calculate a “Passing Grade.” We’re all guilty of it. There’s even a site you can visit where you input your current grade and the site will calculate the minimum grade you need on a test to get the grade you want in the course. Sigh. But don’t let yourself get to this point. Putting a “necessary number” in your head when you’re trying to take the test will distract you, and freak you out.   

5. Be Positive!  If you’ve struggled with the content on the test before, maybe in a different class, don’t think about how you did on those past exams. When you’re taking a test, the only thing that matters is the material in front of you. Take a deep breath, sit up tall, and be confident—you’ve got this! 

photo courtesy of Google.com

Olivia is a senior at UNCW, majoring in Creative Writing. She enjoys color coding all things possible and hanging string lights year-round.
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