How To Be An Effective Test Taker

How To Be An Effective Test Taker

Why "take a deep breath" is so important for test anxiety.

We are about to enter the third week of school, and I know I already have quizzes and exams coming up in the near future. So, how do we manage the stress of an upcoming test without making ourselves sick in the process of studying and taking the exam? As far as keeping your immune system in check before the test, it is important to eat right, sleep and hydrate. Then when taking the test, the solution is pretty cliché: take a deep breath.

As a student who has struggled with test taking since middle school, I know the pre-test jitters and anxieties all too well. Even if I spend night after night in the library studying for a test one week in advance, I still sit down to take it, and immediately, my heart starts to race and my brain seems to go into full power mode.

Many times, I have come out of testing and felt really exhausted and sick. I started to wonder why I usually felt so awful after an exam, and I learned it has to do with your body's stress response. I have started to recognize ways that help me manage my stress toward tests to become an effective test taker, and I hope they will help you all too.

What is an effective test taker? To me, an effective test taker is someone who has prepared fairly well before the test and takes the test with a certain level of calmness. Remaining calm during a test is key to not stressing out so much and to staying healthy.

This semester, I am taking a Health and Wellness course, and we just learned about stress responses, adrenaline and cortisol. When you are in a stressful situation, your body responds by releasing the stress hormones – adrenaline, epinephrin and cortisol – to help you through the situation. But if you are often stressed, your body has high levels of these stress hormones constantly, and they directly affect your health, cortisol being the worst.

I say that cortisol is the worst of the three because it does not go away quickly as adrenaline does. It stays in your body when you are stressed, so chronic stress means you always have high levels of this hormone. Cortisol influences your heart rate, immune response, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. So, your immune system response is dampened, meaning it is easy for you to get sick.

A test is just the thing to increase your cortisol levels, but there are two steps you can take to manage your stress and lower the level of cortisol in your body when taking a test: one, take a deep breath; and two, change your posture. When you take a deep breath and change your posture, you increase circulation which in turn cleanses and gets rid of the cortisol.

Essentially, being an effective test taker is being good at managing your stress. There are so many ways to manage stress that are simple and easy such as yoga and exercise, just to name two. Hopefully, this article put into perspective how stress affects your body and your health and gives you a chance to study for and take your next test while managing your stress.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Well, Here I Am Again Writing An Article At 2 AM Because My Anxiety Is Not Letting Me Sleep

My anxious thoughts late at night are horrible.


Life is crazy and rough and sometimes sucks. My anxiety has been at its worst this semester, and if I'm being honest - it's driving me insane. I have lost sleep because of it. I have missed classes because of it. I have skipped out on being around friends because of it. The last one is the one that always confuses me, though. I'm at my happiest when I'm around people. I love it, but lately, there have been multiple days where I would rather curl up in a ball and cry.

I struggle to breathe. I struggle to keep up with life. I have all of these thoughts racing through my head. One after the other, trying to see which one will be victorious. However, all of them are victorious because they all have me wide awake. I haven't had a decent night of sleep in a while. At this point, I could probably say its been almost a year since I slept well.

It's yet another night. 2 a.m. and I'm wide awake, crippling with thoughts I want out of my head.

It's constant. It never really stops. I can hear it early in the morning, as I eat my lunch when I'm walking to class, and especially late at night. Right now, the thought screaming the loudest is "No one likes you. That's why you're here and not there." I know it's not true.

My anxious thoughts late at night are horrible. I hate them. They irritate me. They keep me up all hours of the night. I toss and turn for hours on end wishing for all of these anxious thoughts to end. I think about things from years ago. I think about things from yesterday. These things never seem to end.

My anxiety has been horrible lately. I haven't been able to get a proper night's sleep in months. I've averaged 3-4 hours a night. I hate it. My mind won't turn off. The racing thoughts never seem to end. I am sick of it. I want to get out of this, but I just can't. Why is this happening?

I have not been able to breathe properly in weeks. I have to physically stop, breathe in deeply, and practically yawn to catch my breath. Why? Why is this happening? I hate it. I'm so stressed from life. This needs to stop.

My body is weak. My mind is no longer concentrating. I want to run away from all of this, but I know that is not how I should handle it. This needs to end. My days can no longer be filled with hopes of a class being canceled or pretending like it is so I don't have to go.

Anxiety has overtaken my life, and I am sick of it. I am ready for it to leave. It won't though. It will continue to reside in my body. I hate it. I can't breathe. I want to cry, but I just can't. I'm sick of this. Anxiety can f*ck off because it has no business taking control of my life.

Related Content

Facebook Comments