Posted by Christy Williams on September 15th, 2015
Testing is often met with anxiety. Even with preparation, some students clam-up when face to face with the HSE test. A number of strategies exist to help test takers overcome anxiety-related obstacles. Some strategies can be implemented prior to taking the test while others can actually be used during the test.
- Take Care of Yourself – Components of self-care include proper nutrition, adequate sleep and exercise. As you plan your diet, try to focus on balanced meals that provide nutritional fuel to keep you sustained during the test. You may also want to consider incorporating “brain food,” items that have been researched to help improve brain function, into your meal plan. Getting enough rest prior to the test is beneficial.
- Solicit Support – As you prepare, the support of others around you can help ease anxiety on the HSE test. Knowing that family and friends are standing with you can be a great source of encouragement. Obtaining support from an employer can also be a source of motivation.
- Adjust Your Attitude – Anxiety occasionally arises from a negative perspective of a situation or outcome. It is important that your attitude toward testing is positive. Framing the opportunity positively will help you approach the test with confidence. Confidence has been shown to play a large role in successful outcomes in many situations.
- Prepare – Preparation includes familiarizing yourself with the exam format and content that will be covered. Knowing the test format is helpful in reducing anxiety so you know what to expect and how to prepare. Some questions to ask about test formatting are: Will the test be multiple choice? Are there short answer or essay questions? How many questions should you expect? How long will you have to complete each portion of the test? Many HSE test preparation programs offer study guides and practice tests. You can also utilize textbooks and other available resources that cover the test subject matter.
During the Test
- Read the Directions Carefully – Fully understanding the instructions before you begin is essential. In some cases you will be able to preview general test instructions before test day.
- Budget Your Time – Many tests are timed. Budgeting testing time ensures that you have enough time to complete all sections of the test. Do not spend too much time on any one question. Instead, move to the next question and return to the skipped portion later.
- Breathe – Breathing is a relaxation technique that can be used to reduce anxiety. There are breathing exercises that can be used during testing ranging from deep breathing to slow breathing. Be sure to use techniques that will not disrupt others in the testing environment.
- Take Breaks – Sometimes the stresses of testing can be amplified while you are in the testing environment. Provided you have budgeted your time appropriately, it may be necessary to take breaks during your testing period. The brief break in action will allow you time to refocus on the task at hand. During your break you may choose to practice your breathing exercises or stretch your body. You may also choose to rest your eyes and do a quick massage of your temples and hands.