Hello! Welcome back to another Scholastic Monday! Today I’d like to talk about that one thing that can cause anxiety as much as writing papers, which is taking a test. Finals season is almost here and that means if you slacked off during the semester it might come back to bite you if you have a cumulative test. Then again on the other hand you can study and study, then still miss something. Don’t fret! You can do it! Even if you end up failing or missing a test there’s still a chance for you to learn from your mistakes and do better the next time. It was something I had to learn when I got to college.
When I was in school I always became nervous when I took tests. At the time, I didn’t know that I had test anxiety or that it was so bad, but when it hit I could barely study. I would get close to a panic attack even in high school, though I tried to calm down. It wasn’t easy. There were times were my thoughts would tumble into “if I don’t pass this test then I can’t get into college” or “if I don’t pass this test then I fail as a student” and it took me a while to realize that even if I failed a test or a quiz that didn’t determine my worth as a person.
In high school I was really caught up in my grades. I always thought my grades defined who I was as a person when it doesn’t. While grades are important for your education career it doesn’t define who you are. However, I do have some tips on what to do when that worry starts to set it around the end of your first semester.
- Try not to cram
I know there are many jokes about cramming as a college student and how that’s the thing to do when it’s not. Cramming does a lot more harm than good. It becomes really easy to forget things that you’ve learned before along with new things because to cram you’ll have to stay up for most of the night, try to write notes on everything, and many times not be ready for the next day. Cramming doesn’t help. What does help is notes! Make sure you take notes and organize them in a way that can be easy to find when you need them. If your professor puts slides after a lecture read them when you can.
In textbooks they will have the definitions of words along with the example of that word, write it down in your notebook or binder or sheets of paper. It will help later on. Don’t forget to date and label your notes too so you’ll know which days you went to that lecture and wrote down what the professor said that day. When I studied Japanese I used notecards with the kanji on one side and the word on the other, it helped a lot. There are different methods to study that are not very overwhelming and much helpful than cramming.
- Get help if you need it
One of the good things about college are the many different places where you can get help if you have trouble in a subject. There’s normally tutors for some of the harder subjects like math or biology, meeting with your professor and/or TA during their office hours, and meeting up with some of your classmates too. There are sources everywhere to get you the help you need if you have trouble with it. Many times your professor will remind you around exam time that they have office hours, you can email them, with some professors you can text them at a certain time too, please, take it.
I’ve found that going to ask for help is much better than seething at a failed test because you were either afraid to talk to them or your pride stopped you from asking for help. Go and ask, they will be more than happy to help.
- Failing doesn’t mean it’s over
Sometimes you might fail a test or a quiz despite studying really hard for it. You had your notecards, notebooks, and read the textbook so many times the sight of it made you tired. You did everything you could and still didn’t pass. Sometimes the test you get will be different than the material you have. Sometimes you’ll forget to study among everything else happening in your life and you’ll fail a test. That doesn’t mean it’s over or the end of the world. I used to think that a lot. One time I cried when I failed a test then again when I failed a midterm and I’ve failed a final once. I cried, got angry, and didn’t look at my school work for the rest of the semester.
I wanted to give up. I wanted to drop out and not do this college thing again. I got some help from my friends, brothers, and therapy to help me realize that if I fail here it’s only the end if I make it the end. I had to pick myself back up and get back on it again. I had to unlearn that type of thinking that if I failed it would be the end when it’s not. Failing a test, midterm, or final is not the end. You can always take the class over again. You might luck out and the class won’t be around anymore. You might get another teacher that will make things easier than the last professor, just know that you have options available out there and failing doesn’t mean the end.
In some cases it can mean the beginning. If I didn’t fail my class in one semester it wouldn’t have pushed me to go into English and find something for me.
So chin up!
You’ll be fine!
Paul the study ghost says: “I believe in you! You can do it!”
Here are some helpful links for studying:
Some tips for dealing with test anxiety : Nice little place that has some tips on how to work with test anxiety
How to Deal with Anxiety When Learning: Here’s another nice site that can help you take that fear and turn it into something constructive.
How to Deal with Anxiety while Studying Abroad : A cool blog that talks about how to deal with anxiety while studying abroad. Something that I know some students deal with.
Have a good week everyone!