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– This video is brought
to you by Snorlax, Kronk, and that one chicken
from the movie Surf’s Up. Three dudes who
never let the stress of adversity get
to them too much. Actually, Snorlax just kind
of sleeps through adversity. Anyway, test anxiety,
let’s talk about it, and then let’s do our
best to destroy it. The time leading up
to a test is so laden with stress and
anxiety because tests are high-pressure
situations, and high-pressure situations can actually
deplete your working memory, and reduce your performance. This is commonly
called “choking,” and it’s common to all types
of high-pressure situations, not just academic ones. Now, it’s important to note
that a little bit of stress and a little bit of fear can
actually be a good thing. Stress heightens our senses,
it brings out our best. Like the famous
radio broadcaster Edward R. Murrow once said, Without any stress at all,
we’d just be apathetic. Stress means you care. Too much, though,
and your health and your performance
start to suffer. So, today, I wanna
help you mitigate some of the stress and fear
that’s caused by your exams. And specifically, I wanna focus
in on three main fears that I think all students have when
exams are around the corner. Number one: the
Fear of the Unknown. Number two: the
Fear of Inadequacy, the feeling that
you’re unprepared and not ready for
the challenge ahead. And, number three: the
Fear of the Stakes, the feeling that everything
is riding on this test, and that your life will
basically be over if you fail. And, actually, now
that I think about it, there are a couple of
other worries that I think most students probably
face, but I wanna wait until the end of the video
to briefly touch on those. First, let’s talk about
these three big ones, and then go over
some specific things you can do to reduce the
stress caused by each of them. So, let’s talk about our
first fear, skeletons. Er, I mean, uh, the
Fear of the Unknown. So, really, the
best way to conquer the fear of the unknown
is to make the test as much of a known
quantity as possible. Do your best to make
that test feel like a familiar old
friend when you walk into the class and face
it down on test day. Now, there are three
main ways to do this that I wanna go
over in this video, and the first one is
to simply recreate the test conditions as best
you can when you’re studying. This means actually
going to the location in which you’ll be tested,
and if it’s your classroom, I don’t really think
sitting in class every day really counts, because it
doesn’t really recreate the high-pressure
situation of the test. So, go there during
the off hours. Even if the room’s
empty, take a desk, sit down, and try to
do some active studying while you’re in the actual
room you’ll be tested in. Don’t stop at location
either, try to recreate the time constraints,
and maybe even the type of questions
you’ll be quizzed over, and basically make it a dry run that doesn’t really have the
high stakes of the actual test so that when you actually
do take that test, it’s as if you’ve
already done it. But, you might be asking
me, “How do I actually “recreate these test conditions “if I don’t know what’s
gonna be on the test?” And that leads
into my second tip: Ask your professor. A lot of students make the
mistake of assuming that if the professor didn’t
readily give out information in class about the test,
that they’re unwilling to give it out if asked. This isn’t always the case,
so if there are aspects of your exam that you’re
unclear on, ask your professor. You could ask them
about the format, what types of questions
you’ll be asked, true/false, multiple
choice, essay style, how long you’ll actually
have to complete the test, and what sort of materials are
allowed in the testing room. And my final tip for getting
to know the test ahead of time is to look for old tests,
a lot of fraternities, sororities and other
student organizations maintain test banks that you
might be able to look through. And if you don’t have access
to anything like that, there’s sites like koofers.com which maintain
their own databases. Our second big
fear to conquer is the feeling of inadequacy,
the feeling that you’re unprepared for the challenges
that the test presents. And, honestly, the best
thing you can do here is simply to prepare,
like the famous marathoner Juma Ikangaa once said, that: So, use the other
tactics in your arsenal the discipline hacks,
the planning techniques, and make sure that
throughout the semester you’re working
diligently, so that way when you get to the weeks
leading up to the test, you don’t have a whole
lot of catching up to do. You’ve been preparing
the whole time. Like, if you’ve ever
seen a Rocky movie, my favorite part is actually
the training montage, because that’s the
stuff he has to do in order to win the fight. Your entire semester is
your training montage and if you don’t use it
correctly, then the test is not gonna go well for
you, it’s just that simple. But let’s talk about
those couple of weeks going up to the test, whatever
you did during the semester, revision is really important
and there’s a couple of things you can do to make
it go more smoothly. Number one is to go through
your notes and the other materials you got throughout
the semester and see what areas of the material that
you’re not really clear on. Know your gaps,
that will allow you to focus most
efficiently on the facts and concepts you really need
to solidify in your mind and not waste too much
time going over stuff you’re already pretty clear on. Additionally, you
can create something that the author Walter Pott
calls a home stretch schedule. This is a more detailed
schedule that you probably don’t need to break out
during the earlier days in the semester, but
in the couple of weeks leading up to a test,
it can be really useful. So on this schedule, you wanna
make sure you block out time for your set obligations
like class and work, and also for the more mundane
things you take for granted, like eating and sleeping,
because these are very important when you’re studying for finals. But then you actually wanna
block out time for studying. That way, when you
create that list of gaps and the material you
need to go through, you know when you’re
gonna actually study it. Also, when you’re revising for
tests, it’s doubly important that you study actively,
like if you’re just passively going through your
notes and textbooks, you’re wasting a lot
of precious time. So, make quizzes for
yourself, and make sure you’re having to actively
recall information and pull it out of your brain. Now, what if you
tried your hardest to prepare throughout
the semester, and revise efficiently,
and you still just don’t feel confident
about your ability to do the test well? Well, I’ve got a
couple of suggestions to ease that fear,
and the first one is to simply act
confident, tell yourself that you’re gonna
do well on the test. Whenever I go into
a new situation where I feel a little
bit unprepared, I just tell myself
that I’m gonna do well. I might not, but there’s no
reason to worry about it, so I just give myself
the confidence. You can do this too, and
there’s also one other thing you can do to ease your
worries before a test. And this is actually
backed up by science. So, a study done by the
University of Chicago actually showed that
students with test anxiety were able to raise
their test grades by simply taking 10
minutes before the exam to write out their
worries, to air ’em out. So if you’re feeling anxious
about a test, try this. Show up a little bit
early for the test, pull out a piece of scrap paper, and write out why
exactly you’re worried. This pulls it out of your
brain, puts it on paper, puts it aside, and lets your
brain focus on the actual test. Science. And the final worry we’re
gonna go over in this video is the fear of the stakes,
the fear that this test is the be-all, end-all,
the determining factor in who you’re gonna be, and
where you’re gonna get in life. And, I just wanna
tell you, it’s not. One test does not
define you, and in fact, your grades don’t define you. If you’ve ever read my blog post on the Student Success Triangle, you’ll know that
academic performance is really just one
point of the triangle. The other ones are
value creation and
relationship building. And if you’re putting
in effort in these areas as well as your
academic performance, one test is not
going to ruin you. You can think of your
test in the same way that I think of job interviews. When I’ve gone on
interviews in the past, I don’t think of
it as an audience with this all-powerful
arbiter who decides whether or not I get to
stay in my mom’s basement for the rest of my life. No, it’s just a
conversation between two individuals who
wanna figure out if they can provide
value for each other. Think of your test the same way, it’s just one examination
of a small body of knowledge you’ve learned over a set
period of time, that’s it. But, also, feed off of
some of that pressure. Find your center,
generate some confidence, and let that pressure
hone your senses. Let it make you stronger
rather than weaker. Now, let’s briefly touch
on those two final worries that I alluded to earlier, the
first one is perfectionism. A lot of students feel like
they have to do absolutely perfect on an exam, and I just
wanna tell you, you don’t. The writer and speaker
Scott Berkun once said, This should be your
mindset going into a test. Know your goals, work
as hard as you can, but don’t expect absolute
perfection from yourself. It’s unhealthy. And, the last worry
is past failures. If we fail one time, we
tend to see a trend forming and we think we’re
gonna fail again. This is due to something called the Negativity Bias, which
I’ll talk about more in-depth in a future video,
but basically, we tend to put more weight
on negative experiences. The thing to realize here
though is that the outcome of any particular
situation is determined by the factors
that went into it, so if you change the factors,
you can change the result. Change the way you
study and prepare, it’ll change the grade
you get on a test. So, that’s it for this video,
and once again I have to leave you with a quote from the
roman poet Horace, who said, Hopefully, the tips here
have helped to quell some of the anxiety you’re
feeling about your tests, and if you’re looking
for more tips on how to do better on your exams, well, I have a couple
of suggestions. Number one, I made a video
at the end of last semester on how to ace your exams,
and you can click right there to watch it, and also
if you’re looking for some specific techniques to
use during the actual test, my friend Simon Clark,
who’s a Youtuber from the UK made his own video, and you
should check it out right there. Also, you should probably
just subscribe to him. He makes good stuff. That’s all I’ve got, and
if you have additional tips that I didn’t cover here,
feel free to leave ’em down in the comments for
other students to see. And thanks so much for
watching this video. (fast-paced synth music) Hey guys, thanks for
checking out my video on test anxiety, if you enjoyed
it, you can leave a like so other students can
find it more easily. And also, you can get new videos on being a more efficient
student every single week by hitting the big red
Subscribe button right there. If you wanna
improve your grades, I wrote an entire
book on the subject and it’s actually free, so
if you wanna get your copy, just click the
picture of the book. You can find a summary and
links to anything I’ve mentioned in the companion blog
post for this video which you’ll find by going to
the orange logo right there. If you missed last week’s
video, there’s a clip of it playing, so
definitely check it out. And also, if you wanna
connect or have questions or ideas for new videos, you
can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter,
and speaking of Twitter, here’s one final bonus
tip for test anxiety that I posted on my
Twitter page yesterday. Thanks for watching.

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