48 - Final Helpful Hints for Testsدوره: Coursera – Learning How to Learn / درس 48
48 - Final Helpful Hints for Tests
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If you’re a stressed out test taker, keep
in mind that
the body puts out chemicals such as
cortisol when it’s under stress.
This can cause sweaty palms, a racing
heart, a knot on the pit of your stomach.
But interestingly, research finds, it’s
how you interpret these symptoms.
The story you tell yourself about why
you’re stressed makes all the difference.
If you shift your thinking from, this test
has made me
afraid, to this test has got me excited to
do my best.
It can really improve your performance.
Another good tip for panicky test takers
to momentarily turn your attention to your
Relax your stomach, place your hand on it,
and slowly draw a deep breath.
Your hand should move out, even as your
whole chest is expanding outward like a
By doing this type of deep breathing,
counteracting the fight or flight response
that fuels anxiety.
This calms you down.
But don’t just start this breathing on the
day of the test.
If you practice this breathing technique
in the weeks before, just
a minute or two here or there is all it
You’ll slide more easily into the
breathing pattern during the test.
Remember, practice makes permanent.
It’s especially helpful deliberately
moving to a deep breathing pattern
in those final anxious moments before a
test is handed out.
I’ve gotten great tips on test taking from
top professors from around the world.
And here are some of the best.
Susan Sajna-Hebert, a professor of
at Lakehead University, advises her
cover up the answers to multiple choice
questions and to try to recall the
So they can answer the question on their
If her students might complain that the
practice test was way easier
than the real one, she asks, what makes
the two situations different?
When you took the practice test, were you
at home relaxing with toons on?
Taking it with a fellow student?
No time limit?
Did you have the answer key and class
materials at hand?
These circumstances are not exactly like a
crowded classroom with
a clock ticking away and no way to access
Tracy Magrann, a professor of biological
Saddleback College, tells her students to
face your fears.
Often, your worst fear is not to get the
grade you need for your chosen career.
How can you handle this?
Have a Plan B for the alternative career.
Once you have a plan for the worst
you’ll be surprised that the fear will
begin to subside.
Professor Magrann notes, study hard up
day of the test and then let it go.
Tell yourself, oh well, let me just see
how many questions I can get right.
I can always pursue my other career
That helps release stress, so you can
better and get closer to your first career
And Bob Bradshaw, a professor of math at
College, tells his students about good
worry and bad worry.
Good worry helps provide motivation and
focus, while bad worry simply wastes
Here are a few final thoughts.
The day before a test, or tests, have a
final look over the materials to brush up
You’ll need both your focus mode and
mode muscles, so to speak, the next day.
So you don’t want to push your brain too
You wouldn’t run a ten mile race the day
before running a marathon.
Don’t feel guilty if you can’t seem to get
to work too hard the day before a big
If you prepared properly, this seems to be
a natural reaction,
almost as if you’re subconsciously pulling
back to conserve mental energy.
While taking a test, you should also
remember how your mind can trick
you into thinking that what you’ve done is
correct, even if it isn’t.
This means whenever possible, you should
shift your attention, and then double
your answers using a, a big picture
prospective asking yourself, does this
really makes sense.
There’s often more than one way to answer
a question and checking your
answers from different perspectives
golden opportunity for verifying what
If there’s no other way to check, except
to step back through your logic,
keep in mind that simple issues have
tripped up even the most advanced
Just do your best.
In science classes, having your units of
measurement match on each side of
the equation can provide an important clue
about whether what you’ve done is correct.
The order in which you work tests is also
Students generally work tests from front
When you’re checking your work if you
towards the back and work towards the
sometimes seems to give your brain a
that can allow you to more easily catch
Nothing’s ever certain.
Occasionally you can study hard and the
test gods simply
don’t cooperate, but if you prepare well
by practicing and
building a strong mental library, and you
approach test taking
wisely, you’ll find that luck will
increasingly be on your side.
I’m Barbara Oakley.
Thanks for learning how to learn.
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