Witticism O’ the Day: The tongue touches the tooth that aches (Puerto Rican proverb).
I’m assuming we all know the feeling of test anxiety: increased heart rate, shaky hands, that oozing melted cheese feeling in your stomach. And it certainly does not feel good, nor does it help anyone get through a hard test successfully. If anything, it actually makes you do worse on any test because when you’re nervous, you don’t take your time and end up making stupid mistakes that can make or break your grade. For myself, I always start to get a little anxious before chemistry tests.
Good ol’ chemistry tests
There are a few things that cause me to get anxious before a chem test. First, all chemistry tests at CSU take place in the night time—which is kind of cruel, considering that it both elongates the already lengthy school day and it’s the time of night that some people would rather be curled up in their fleece pajamas watching the Nuggets on TV ahem. Not me, of course, but some people! And chemistry is one of the subjects I struggle with the most, so it’s a little nerve-racking going in to a test in which you aren’t 100% confident in your abilities. But as nervous as chem tests make me, I’ve come up with a few ways to calm myself back down and really focus and since I love giving tips, I’ll share my anxiety reducing techniques with all of you!
1) Study ahead of time. While you can meditate all you want before a test, the only thing to actually prepare you is to study—and if you’ve studied hard, you will be more confident in your abilities and therefore less anxious.
2) Bring your iPod. Prepare a playlist ahead of time that have the songs that get you in the mood to take a test, and then tune out for a little while once you get to the test room. Personally I prefer to listen to some light but uppity songs that are both calming and wake me up. Just make sure to safely stow your iPod before the test so you don’t get accused of cheating and fail the class!
3) Practice relaxation techniques. This can be whatever you need to do for yourself—I like to take some deep breaths and tell myself how awesome at chemistry I am, but some people like meditation or visualization instead.
4) Follow superstitious (and almost OCD) rituals. I always try to precisely imitate my study routine when I take a test, e.g: if I was eating when I was studying, I eat just before I take the test. I monitor what position I’m sitting in when I study, my caffeine intake during that day, and even my mood—and then I try and imitate everything spot on. Okay, maybe it’s a little OCD and superstitious, but it boosts my confidence and increases my likelihood of success. It doesn’t work for everyone.
5) Write yourself a secret note that you “find” right before the test. Write something that makes you laugh, calms you down, and boosts your confidence.
Good luck keeping that melted cheese feeling in your stomach at bay, and study hard!