Math exam paranoia

I’m dreading my mathematics paper and anxiety makes me sweat! Can you help me relax?

Our elder has some top tips for test-taking. You’ll ace it, he says.

Dear EWC

I’m currently pretty paranoid the upcoming final examinations. And something, more like my mistakes, are rubbing the salt into my wound. Just now, we have a mock exam for mathematics to see how advanced and competent we are in the subject. The questions are very hard and it’s all Greek to me. One of the easiest questions in the papers was about speed. So, I practically worship the formula D= ST and guess what? I must have woken up from the wrong side of bed today because I used the wrong formula to calculate the time taken! I was supposed to divide the total distance with the speed, but I think I might have lost my tracks and went blank. In the end, everyone got the correct answer except me. The mathematics are dreaded by every student, including me. The finals are beginning this Thursday and I have the mathematics paper next Tuesday. I know practice makes perfect, but I can’t help but feel anxious and doubtful whether I can do well or not. I really want to do my best. I will do my best. By the way, I always get sweaty hands and cold feet when I’m extremely worried over something. I’m left-handed so I will get severe moist hand smudging because my excessive sweats. Could you suggest me some activities to do to relax myself for like a minute before the exam begins? I’m in a strict high school, so we can’t bring any electronic devices.

Dayle replies

Here are some hints for test-taking. Start by taking deep breaths before you look at the first question. Deep breathing is calming. If a question looks too hard, even if it’s the first one, skip it and go to the next until you find a question you absolutely know you can answer. Go through the whole test this way. Then start back at the beginning and do the same thing over again. Many times you will find that by answering what you know, it will, again, help you relax, and you are likely to find that this triggers your brain and reminds you of what you thought you didn’t know. And sometimes the answers to one question lead to, or are a part of another question (same formula, type of graphing etc.) After you’ve done all the easy questions, take another minute to deep breath, or even stretch, shake your shoulders, move your head in circles to loosen your muscles. Then start back on the questions you skipped.
Don’t doubt yourself. Remember that your first impression is usually right, and while you want to look over your test before you turn it in to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, it’s usually best not to change answers unless you are pretty sure that one or two questions still had you frowning (put a checkmark by those after you do them so you’re sure to look at those one more time). But I’d be surprised if you don’t ace this math test.

Letter #: 449093
Category: School

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