Written by Will Montgomery

Exam Time Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

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By Sara Coates
Bullhorn Reporter
Exam time? More like every student’s worst nightmare. With the holidays on everyone’s mind, the last thing students want to do is worry about passing a major test, but sadly, it is inevitable.
During this time, as students, we all fall into a pattern of losing sleep and forgetting meals,
subsequently gaining a bad attitude that can often be difficult to shake.
Right before exams, that attitude begins to follow us around closer than ever before. It has this way of convincing us to choose the easy out. It wants us to give up rather than work hard and study.
On exam day, that attitude comes along and sits beside each of us. Then, it has a way of convincing us to lose all hope of passing in general. It wants us to believe that we don’t know the answers or have time to finish.
In reality, all we need to do is lose the attitude to achieve greatness, and it isn’t as hard as it sounds. By taking the following tips from RCS high school guidance counselor, Dr. Acheampong, and remembering that no matter what the little attitude in your head is saying, you will achieve greatness.
1.  Read test instructions carefully before beginning – and follow them exactly as they are written.
2. Quickly look over the test to decide how much time to spend per question. Also know where you need to be on the test at the halfway point of time. Be sure to save a few minutes at the end to review your work.
3. Answer the easy questions first. This will aid in planning your use of time and allow you to move quickly through questions that you do know. If you begin with question #1 and work straight through the test, you may run out of time before finishing. You also could get stumped on questions that are difficult and waste time.
4. If you get stuck on a question, make a note or question mark in the margin and go on to other questions that you can answer readily. Do not agonize too long over difficult questions. If you budget test time wisely, you will be able to come back to the difficult questions before the test ends. Also, sometimes the answer to an earlier question pops up in a later question.
5. Focus on one question at a time. The key is to avoid getting overwhelmed.
6. Be sure to read each question completely, and review all possible answers before choosing the correct one. Make sure that you understand what each question is asking. Do not choose an answer too quickly.
7. Take the full time allowed for the test, even if you finish early and feel you don’t need it. If you use extra time to review your answers, paying particular attention to items you noted with a question mark or in the margin, you may find careless errors such as misreading the question or not fully understanding it.
8. If you’re marking test answers on a special answer sheet, check your marking alignment every 10 items to be sure that you’ve marked your answer by the correct question number.
9. If there is no penalty for guessing, do it. There’s nothing to lose. Don’t leave any question unanswered.
10. If you are prone to changing your answers often, don’t do it. Once you choose an answer to a question, do not change it unless you have a specific reason for doing so.
11. Control test-anxiety. Some anxiety about a test is normal but too much can negatively affect your performance. Getting a good night’s sleep before the test, striving for relaxation, arriving at school early on test day, filling your mind with positive affirmations, having confidence in your abilities and visualizing your success will help you control anxiety.
Remember guys, we’re all in this together. We’re Bulldogs, and we can do anything we set our minds to.