Unit 9: Be Ready For Tests and Test Anxiety
This unit will present you with strategies you can use to study for tests, reduce or eliminate stress related to test-taking, commonly called test anxiety, and increase your skills in taking tests.
The weeks and days before a test are a great time to remind yourself of an important point: being a college student is voluntary! Put another way, you are in college because it will help you achieve the goals you set out at the beginning of this course. If you approach tests as an opportunity to see how well you are doing, rather than as a punishment or trial, you will find it easier for you to have a positive attitude about the process. Nearly every student has experienced test anxiety at some point, so if it happens to you, do not see it as a sign of failure. Instead, learn the strategies presented in this unit so that when test anxiety appears, you will have the emotional tools to manage it.
One of the most effective strategies for avoiding excessive anxiety during an exam is being well-prepared for the exam itself. Feeling confident about the material comes from studying effectively and often, and from feeling healthy and well-rested on the exam day. This unit also covers strategies for actually taking a test, including understanding the different question types, which questions to answer first, and other useful tips.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- explain the purpose of tests and exams in college;
- define and identify test anxiety;
- list strategies for controlling and reducing test anxiety;
- identify and use key strategies for effective test studying;
- describe general strategies you can apply when taking tests and quizzes; and
- identify and use specific strategies for addressing different types of test questions.
9.1: Why Test?
In Chapter 6 of the textbook, begin by filling out the self-assessments titled "Where You Are Now?" and "Where Do You Want to Go?" Then read "How to Get There" and the introduction titled "Tested at Every Turn" to gain some new perspectives on the purpose and value of testing. Pay particular attention to how testing fits into the learning cycle you have studied in earlier units of this course.
9.2: Why Stress?
In this section, you will learn about the symptoms of test anxiety and many techniques for reducing and managing these symptoms when you experience them. You may be surprised to learn that you have symptoms of test anxiety - but note that these symptoms are extremely common among college students. The remainder of this subunit will present you with ways to keep your anxiety from affecting your performance. Make sure to complete all the activities in the reading, including the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
9.3: How to Be Prepared for the Test
In this section, you will learn about different studying techniques to employ at different stages of the testing cycle. Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
In your notebook, describe a successful study group that you have participated in in the past. If you haven't participated in such a group, write down what an imaginary successful group would look like based on one of the subjects you are studying. Then, describe a less-than-successful study session. What are three things you can do to make your next study group more successful?
9.4: Types of Tests and Strategies for Each
Read the section titled "Types of Tests" to learn about the different types of tests and techniques for doing your best work on each.
9.5: General Strategies for Test-Taking
Read the sections entitled "Tips for Taking Tests" and "Strategies for Math and Science Exams."
9.6: Types of Test Questions and Strategies for Each
In this section, you will learn about the different types of test questions and strategies for effectively answering each of these types of questions. After completing the reading, take about a half hour or less to attempt the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.
9.7: Academic Honesty
Read this section to review what constitutes academic honesty versus academic dishonesty. Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
9.8: After the Test
Read this section. Make sure to attempt the checkpoint exercises after you complete the reading.
9.9: Practice Your Test-Taking Skills
Access this exam and practice responding to the different types of exam questions. Spend only 15-20 minutes answering each exam question. You may take a break between each exam question, but it may be a good idea for you to attempt all five questions in one sitting in order to simulate the time allotted for each short answer and essay response in a typical college test. You can check your answers here.
Access this exam to practice three matching and fill-in-the-blank exam questions. Spend only 5 minutes answering each exam question. You may take a break between answering each exam question, but it may be a good idea for you to answer all three in one sitting in order to simulate the typical time allotted for each question in the matching section of a college test. You can check your answers here.
Access this quiz to practice answering five multiple choice and true/false exam questions. Spend only 5 minutes answering each exam question. You may take a break between each question, but it may be a good idea for you to answer all five questions in one sitting in order to simulate the amount of time allotted for each question in the multiple choice or true/false section of a typical college test. You can check your answers here.
Unit 9 Assessment
One of the most important strategies for ensuring your college success is to develop a plan for how you will prepare for quizzes, tests, and exams. If you do not already have a basic plan, now is the time to create one. Pull out your planner or calendar, your course syllabus, and your course notes and other materials. Note all your upcoming quizzes, tests, and exams in your planner.
Also be sure to:
- Schedule time on your calendar for reviewing your course notes. Divide the notes into manageable chunks and schedule time every day between now and the next upcoming exam to review these notes.
- Attend extra study sessions. Make sure all your group study sessions, recitations, review sessions, and tutoring appointments are on your calendar. Don't wait too long to try to find a tutor if you need one. The closer to the exam you are, the harder it will be to find someone who has time to help you.
- Plan as if you have a critically important meeting the night before the exam. How can you have all your studying completed well beforehand?
- Eat, sleep, and exercise. Don't forget to eat properly, exercise, and get a good night's sleep before the exam. Make sure you have a good breakfast and/or snack before the test.
- Relax during the exam. What are three things you can do while taking the exam to help you relax and to calm your nerves? Share your answers on the "Try College 101 Discussion Board.”
- Review test-taking tips. Make note of effective test-taking strategies based on your readings in your College Success textbook. Share strategies that work for you on the "Try College 101 Discussion Board.”
- It's not over yet. Once you have completed your exam, read through it one last time to make sure you have not missed any questions before you turn it in.
When the graded exam is returned to you, be sure to review it. Focus on any parts of the exam in which you performed poorly, and use the test as a resource to prepare yourself for future exams. Receiving your first test grade is a good time to schedule an appointment with your instructor to discuss anything you do not understand.
Wash, Rinse, and Repeat
Effective test-taking is an important part of learning and is a skill that you will continue to develop over time. As you continue to improve the studying and test-taking skills that you have learned in this course, you will find that they will continue to pay dividends throughout your college career.