Over the years, I have worked with students taking the NJ ASK, AP Tests, HSPA's, SAT Subject tests, GRE's and more. Preparing for tests can be very anxiety provoking because there is so much at stake and so much to do to prepare - while still living life fully!
Below are some simple strategies that I have used with elementary students - although some will work with graduate students too. There are many relaxation strategies you can practice to help you throughout the preparation and the test itself. You can find more information on relaxation strategies to practice on this blog.
Here are a few elementary student strategies in the meantime:
The Night Before a Test or Competition
• Get a good night’s sleep – go to bed early.
• Be sure that you have studied the best that you can. It is usually best to study a little bit each night over a long time.
• Be sure to eat a good dinner.
• Be brave, be proud of yourself for preparing well and believe in yourself.
• Prepare everything that you will need for the next day – the night before so that you can be ready in the morning.
• Use your imagination to see yourself successful.
The Day of the Test or Competition
• Study one more time – just review your notes or word or whatever you will be tested on.
• Be sure to eat a good breakfast with protein.
• Be sure to leave on time with everything you need.
• Bring healthy snacks and water.
• Stay positive and know that you are always doing your best, believe in yourself and your abilities.
During the Test or Competition
• Make sure that you have your own space during the test. Be sure to ask your teacher if you feel you need more space.
• Take a deep breath to help you relax and don’t forget to take several deep breaths while you are taking the test. If the test is very long you can stretch gently in small ways by moving your head and neck, flexing your hands and feet too. During a break you can also turn to the side and do a gentle twist but be sure to ask if it is ok.
• Make sure your pencils are sharpened and be as neat as you can. Be sure to put your name on your paper.
• Believe in yourself. You will do a great job! Encourage your friends too – we all need some words that help us to believe in all that we can do!