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The Top Ten Stress-Causing Test-Taking Traps You Must Avoid – If You Have Test Stress, This Is Why.    What have you tried in attempting to get your test-taking stress under control? Maybe you have already been through a study skills program to see if that would help your test-taking anxiety. Clearly, a listening skills class or note-taking course won't help you with test stress, and a time management or personal organization course will only have minimal effect. These skills, while worthwhile alone, don't directly address stress control. You can be the greatest student, the smartest academically, but if you don't get your stress under control, you just won't perform to your potential on tests. This article examines the ten major ways students create needles stress for themselves by violating the psychological basics of preparation for test taking.    768 words.
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The Top Ten Stress-Causing Test-Taking Traps You Must Avoid

If You Have Test Stress, This Is Why



Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California



What have you tried in attempting to get your test-taking stress under control? Maybe you have already been through a study skills program to see if that would help your test-taking anxiety. Clearly, a listening skills class or note-taking course won't help you with test stress, and a time management or personal organization course will only have minimal effect. These skills, while worthwhile alone, don't directly address stress control. You can be the greatest student, the smartest academically, but if you don't get your stress under control, you just won't perform to your potential on tests.

This article examines the ten major ways students create needles stress for themselves by violating the psychological basics of preparation for test taking.

  1. Cramming At The Last Minute, And Then Being Surprised: Some students use cramming as their go-to study strategy. I suggest you ask someone using this as to how much material they retain past the test. If this works for you, great, but if you study last-minute, there always seems to be a sudden surprise when you can't find certain material, or you learn of some new last-minute content you must suddenly master, that you forgot about. That causes some real stress.

  2. Simply Reading Your Notes Without Testing Your Understanding: Reading and reviewing is better than ignoring your material, but it is far, far better to test yourself. Otherwise, how will you gauge how effective your study program is for you?

  3. Not Performing Any Practice Tests: This is such a basic that it is surprising that some students still don't do this. You absolutely must simulate the pressures you will feel once in the actual test, in advance. That is the only way you will be able to devise strategies to deal effectively with them.

  4. Not Timing Yourself On Practice Tests: A common problem students create needlessly is failing to complete practice tests under the same testing conditions that they will face once in the actual exam. This is a must in order to create the stressful feelings in practice you need to come to terms with, and handle.

  5. Not Having Solid Test-Taking Strategies: If you do not understand test psychology and test construction methods teachers use, and how to manage these factors, you will feel out of control and simply unable to take charge of your test-taking.

  6. Not Preparing Mentally: Students that wake up, or come immediately from another activity, run into the testing room and expect to test well are sadly mistaken. Your mind needs to pre-focus on what is to come if you hope to concentrate and use your mental faculties to their utmost.

  7. Not Having Tried And True Stress Control Methods: The best students have a toolkit of stress management techniques at their command. Some students have never had any formal training in stress control, but know how to instinctively relax. No matter how you do it, you need to handle the stress that is inherent in academics.

  8. Taking The Test Too Lightly: If you think the test is no big deal, you won't prepare properly. You'll get in the test, be surprised at its difficulty, and panic.

  9. Taking The Test Too Seriously: There is no single test that will change your life, for better or worse. Almost all tests can be retaken and improved upon. If you go into a test thinking it's "Do or Die", you'll add needless pressure, and choke.

  10. Allowing Panic And Fear To Take Over: Many students operate on an avoidance basis in studying. They refuse to put time into what will make them feel secure, and instead simply arrange their study time so they do things that make them "feel good". To feel confident going into the test, and to keep feelings of panic at bay once in the exam room, you need an intelligent set of strategies of how to study so the panic can never get a hold of you.

Now you know why your fear and panic kicks in during a test for which you did not prepare well. It really is very logical. If you don't prepare correctly, and manage your stress in advance, you probably will become very nervous and perform badly once in the test. Remember, no one prepares to fail on purpose, but many people fail to prepare, and ultimately, those outcomes are really the same. I want you to succeed. To do that you need a stress and anxiety control program for test taking. Let me help you learn these skills so you can go into your tests feeling calm, confident and expecting to succeed.


Knowing about educational psychology and being test savvy is certainly an important part of being a good student, but top students who get consistently high grades also have a knowledge base and applied skills in stress control and peak performance. You need to know how to manage your mind, calm your emotions and relax your body so you can get into the “test zone”, that powerful, deeply focused mind-body state that gives you excellent recall, mental alertness and clarity. You need to learn these skills and become mentally tough so you can handle the extreme pressures of academia. Other mental skills training you need are visualization, confidence-building, mental readiness training and motivation skills.

To learn this set of mental toughness, zone, and stress control skills, sign up for our special Test Anxiety Stress Reduction Program. You can also take this no-cost assessment of your test-taking skills.

https://www.mentalgamecoach.com/Assessments2/TestAnxietyAssessment.html


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Copyright © 2011- Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.


Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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