First off, I want you to know that you are not alone. The majority of students at UTC experience some degree of anxiety when test-taking. It is important to recognize the common signs of test anxiety and use relaxation methods that are unique to handle your stress.
Here are a couple of my own suggestions for combating test anxiety before general chemistry test. I would like to remind you that my Ph.D. is in chemistry, not in counseling or psychology.
- Preparation: chemistry exams are like no other exams you will take at UTC. Material for exams can not be learned in one or two evenings of studying, or even 24 hours of straight studying. It takes several study sessions for the material to sink in. And rather than studying, it is better to focus on learning.
- Learning: Review the learning outcomes for your course. What outcomes are the focus of the next exam? How can you ensure you will achieve those outcomes?
- Many students come to college in memorization mode. This only works for some courses/material. Most college level learning requires higher levels of critical thinking, such as application and synthesis. To achieve these higher levels, you might want to consider how your learn best. The goal will be to “study smarter not harder”. This concept is referred to as metacognition, being aware of how you learn. Many great resources are available on metacognition. To get started, here are a few videos
- Another great resource is the book Teach Yourself How to Learn by Saundra Yancy McGuire.
- Test Day: Now you have learned the material. What should you do on test day?
- Stop studying at least 6 hours prior to the exam. Don’t stay up 24 hours to learn material!
- For early morning exams, make time for breakfast.
- Check to make sure you have all needed materials BEFORE you leave for the test (Calculator, Pencil, etc.)
- Arrive on time. When you are late to an exam, you shorten your testing time. The professor is not required to give you more time.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- During the test:
- Relax! You know this stuff!
- Review the test and focus your efforts on the questions you know first. Leave problems that you don’t understand until later. You don’t want to miss out on easy points for material that you have learned because you spent too much time on other areas of the test.
- To combat nervousness, you might try bringing a stress toy to class. They can be very useful. Check with professor first to make sure this is allowed.
- For more help (and scientific suggestions) please visit the following websites: