I know some people who enjoy taking tests. Some of them savour the competition with others, some take pride in attaining good marks, while many others have their own reasons for enjoying tests. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I am anxious, easily distracted, easily bored, non-competitive and certainly not a perfectionist. I simply need a certificate to prove my knowledge. I remember how I hated the preparation time. I needed to memorize so many terms that I don’t use in daily life as well as formulas which I could simply google when I needed to.
Understandably, when it was test time I was very nervous. However, my nervousness didn’t help me at all in passing the tests. Hence, as a Scrum master I make it a habit of asking my team questions about what we can control and what we cannot. In my case, I can control my emotions and I write tips for myself on how to be less worried.
1.Change my attitude towards the test
I used to view a test as an enemy which stole my time and money. One day, I began to see it as a friend. No matter how many times I would write the test, every time I failed I would feel gratitude since it showed gaps in my knowledge. I began looking at tests as a learning curve and came to enjoy the process itself rather than concentrating on the results.
2. Never study the night before
Our brains are structured in such a way that we require time to archive the information, process it and store it in our memory. Many times, what I studied the previous night I did not remember the next morning, yet I suddenly recalled it two days later. That is the reason I study intensely the month prior, yet rest and enjoy my life two days before the test itself.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Taking practice tests is the best way to prepare for the stress and anxiety of real tests. I know it sounds boring, yet practicing not only allowed me to take control of my fear and anxiety, it also solidified my self-image as a good test-taker.
4. Don’t forget to breathe properly
I never took this advice seriously, yet breathing slowly and deeply allowed me to calm down both physically and mentally. To control your breathing means to control your focus.
By following these four simple tips, I was able to reduce my anxiety and increase my focus.