6 Test-Taking Tips for Finals Week

Final weeks can be stressful. With spring final exams looming, some students find it easy to get lost in the pressure. Here are six test-taking tips from Clark experts that will lower your test anxiety, and more importantly, your incorrect answers.

1.) Create an Organized Schedule

John Mitchell, professor at Clark, said students struggle with being organized because of other aspects of life distracting them from the task at hand. “Students need to work on improving the environment around them,” he said.


2.) Embrace the Power of Positive Thinking

Mitchell said he advocates relaxing and having a positive mindset. He said, “Many students think of it like this: ‘Let’s just get this over with.’ But if we would look at stressful tasks in a positive frame of mind, the stress reduces, we’re happier, and most importantly, we don’t have a coffee shortage.”


3.) Use The Practice Problems Provided by Your Instructors

Kristin Sherwood, instructor of College 101 at Clark, said students may feel like practicing is not important, but it is. She said when teachers assign practice problems that aren’t worth points, students don’t feel like they are worth doing. “Those practice problems are absolutely worth points — on the test,” she said.


4.) Focus On Physical Well Being

Sherwood said that some stress can be caused by an unhealthy balance of sleep and nutrition.

“You can use all your best studying techniques, but they aren’t going to be nearly as effective if you’re sleep deprived, hungry and on your third energy drink of the day,” Sherwood said.


5.) Identify What Works For You

Shayna Collins, counselor at Clark, said students should find what works best for them. “What works for one person might not be helpful for another,” she said. “Some students like to use flashcards, or study in groups, or write out notes.”


6.) Study, Study, Study

Sherwood said students are “naïve” to think they will be ready with a few hours of studying. Collins said, “You would never expect to join a team and start in an important game if you hadn’t been to practices, and yet we expect to cram for a test in one late-night sitting or even wing it and not study at all.”

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