How to Reduce Math Test Anxiety – part 1

Students who fear math feel the most anxious when confronted with a mast test. In addition to the methods discussed earlier, several other positive steps will help reduce test anxiety.

Before the Test

The unknown or unexpected is usually what you most fear when taking a test. You can eliminate this source of fear by knowing exactly what material the test will cover. If not written or announced by the teacher, ask! Ask what pages to review and what kind of problems you need to know.

But don’t nitpick by saying, “do we really need to know how to work these problems?” You need to know all the material, unless told otherwise. Do not ignore the ones you don’t like or find difficult. They are not going to go away. Get help with these problems. They wouldn’t be taught if you could not do them. Once you understand difficult problems, you won’t mind them, and you will be a lot less nervous going in to the test knowing that you have adequately prepared yourself for all types of problems.

Don’t cram for math tests. If you do, then you will be unsure of yourself while taking the test. Begin your review several days in advance. Dig out all those big study sheets you made and make sure you understand the principles they teach. Then work on practice tests. They can be chapter test in your textbook, or you can ask your teacher or tutor to find or make up some for you.

You can also make up your own practice tests. On a separate sheet of paper, copy a couple of problems from each exercise you have studied. Be sure to write out the instructions for working each type of problem. Close your notes and textbook and pretend these problems are a test.

The night before the test, you should just review what you have already studied. Do not stay up late. Remember, you began preparing for the test several days earlier. And if you don’t get a fair amount of rest and sleep, you will defeat all your good intentions. Budget your time that day so you can complete your review and still go to bed at a decent hour.

Make your test study time the last thing you do that night before preparing to sleep. Do not clutter your mind by reading, talking on the phone, or watching tv. Research shows tha tthe last thing on  your mind before sleep will stay with you through your sleep cycle. If you have ever worked intensely on an idea or problem right before going to bed, you may have experienced waking up in the middle of the night with the solution or a new insight. Your mind, in a relaxed state, can keep working while your sleeping.

On the morning of the test, pay attention to your nutritional needs. Eat a balanced breakfast that has protein and carbohydrates. Go easy on caffeinated beverages and limit yourself to no more than one cup of coffee, tea, or 10 ounces of cola. Avoid overly greasy foods because grease is hard to digest, could cause sluggishness, and can upset your stomach. Avoid acidic foods such as orange, tomato, or grapefruit juice. If you’re nervous, you will already have enough acid in your stomach.

Do not eat too much because if you have too big a meal, digestion will channel energy to your stomach and intestines rather than to your brain.

Also, on the morning of your test, don’t be tempted to take a hasty look at your books or notes. Remember, you reached a point the night before where you felt comfortable with the material.

Ignore what other students have to say right before the test. Often, they are confused and frantically searching for solutions at the last minute. Most of the time they will be wrong anyway. Listening to bits and pieces of conversation about problems taken out of context can be extremely confusing. Kee your mind clear, and remember, in your review the night before, you felt good about what you know. Do not allow yourself to be confused by pre-test chaos.

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