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Nervous About Tests? Don't Be! Look at the Bigger Picture

I remember how nervous I was during every major test in my life. The SAT, AP Tests before undergraduate school. Then there was the dreaded GRE required for admission to graduate school.

Fast forward: my master's degree test involved a full day of writing (with no notes or books). My doctoral exams involved a full day of writing, three times a week for one week (also with no notes or books). Talk about torture! And then there was the faculty review ... whew!

But you know what? I needn't have been nervous and neither should you, because "testing" begins the minute you walk into the classroom door. If you pay attention in class, do your homework, stay focused (you can always "play" later), take good care of your mind and body -- exercise a little to relieve stress and stay healthy -- and create a peaceful environment in which to study a little bit every day during the school week, you should be able to retain information and write to the best of your ability.

I've had students tell me: "but I don't know what to write about!" And I replied: "If I put a mirror in front of your face and it fogs up, that means you're alive. And if you're alive, believe me, you already have more to write about than you even know."

Now, I know this is easier said than done. But consistency and discipline is the cornerstone of any good study practice.  If you're into sports, you know what I'm talking about. It's true for anything in life.

And feeling nervous is actually going to make you feel worse and less confident in your ability to succeed at any task in life -- not just when you take academic placement tests like the SAT and PERT. Sure, there are always a few butterflies in the tummy before any test, but don't let that stop you from believing that with a little applied learning, you will overcome any obstacles in academic subjects that aren't your particular strength.

I know students face much pressure these days but that has never stopped many from having a successful career in the past and it certainly isn't going to keep you and many others from doing the same now and in the future.

Think of it this way: it's just a test -- and yes, it's an important test -- however, keep looking at the bigger picture. The test doesn't define who you are or what you're capable of doing in that big world out there. It's just an academic requirement. Don't let fear or nerves get in the way.

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Maria D.

Award-Winning Writer For Composition, Essay Prep, Proposals

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