Studying is the most important way to prepare for a test. It is also one of the best ways to reduce test anxiety because the more you have studied; the more confident you will be when you take the test. However, not everyone studies as efficiently as he or she could.
One important element of efficient study is a person’s study environment. Different people study more efficiently under different circumstances, but there are several things you can do that most people find to be helpful.
- Be sure all your study materials are readily available. Study efforts are much less efficient if you have to get up and fetch books or papers in the middle of a session.
- Set aside sufficient time to allow you to fully focus on your work. If you are constantly checking the clock to be sure you are not late for a date or an appointment, then you will be too distracted to properly absorb the information you are studying.
- Pick a time when you are not overly tired. Fatigue can also adversely affect your ability to absorb and recall study materials.
- Study in short increments. Trying to study everything in a single session will make it much more difficult for you to recall the information later.
- Take breaks. Staring at a computer screen or reading a book for a long period of time without a break can cause eyestrain and/or back issues. Get up every half hour to stretch, rest your eyes, get a drink, or even take a walk.
- Study in an environment that helps you concentrate. If you focus better in a silent room, set up your study materials somewhere where you know you will not be disturbed. If you prefer some background noise or music, make sure that you study in an appropriate environment.
- Study in an environment similar to the one in which you will be taking the test. If you like to study with some background noise, a completely silent testing environment could increase your test anxiety. A less-controlled testing environment can also be stressful to you if you are accustomed to silence. Some practice in the kind of surroundings you are likely to encounter will help you focus on the final test.
Incorporating these elements into your study environment will help you focus as you study, increase your ability to retain information, and give you more confidence when you take your test. This kind of preparation and close attention to your study environment will, in the long run, help you overcome test anxiety.