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Passing the GED® Test: Test Anxiety

By Gretta Van Andel, Educator

What happens when you walk into the GED test, look at the test booklet, and get frozen with fear? It's a common experience. Taking a test can be a horrific experience for a lot of bright students, and fear can easily compromise your test scores. It's something I hear every day. "Even if I know the material, I can't pass a test."

What students are talking about is test anxiety, and there are ways to cope with it. One thing that helps is practice tests. A study test for the GED, HiSET, or TASC test is useful for a lot of reasons. It will let you know what the test is like, how you'll score, and what you need to study. In the process, practice tests also help you combat test anxiety. When you walk into the test facility, you've done this before. If you've taken a practice test, especially a timed test, you know what to expect. The testing is much more familiar. You even know that you can be successful, because you've been successful on a practice test. The more familiar it feels when you're in the testing room, the easier it is to get past the fear and just focus on what you're doing.

So, what do you do when your worries start to take over? What if your stomach is in a knot, you're frozen up, and you just can't focus? Take a deep breath. You can overcome this. Recognize what is happening. This is test anxiety. It is natural, and it doesn't have to stop you from succeeding.

Here is a good technique: Focus your attention on one detail of the test. Don't be overwhelmed by the whole test, or how important your score is. Close your mind off to everything but one single question. You can handle one question. Really focus on it. Read it, understand it. Choose an answer. This one question, for right now, is the whole world, the only thing you have to think about.

Making one small, manageable question the center of your world will take you away from the fear. If you feel yourself worrying again about how long the test is, or how hard one question is, or how much time there is left, just bring yourself back to one, manageable thing. If you're worried about one question because it's too hard, skip it, and focus on the next one instead. You can answer one question. You can read and understand one question. Focus on one question whenever you get overwhelmed, and one question at a time, you'll get through the test.

You can use other techniques, as well. When you start to feel anxiety building, take a quick break and a few deep breaths. Refocus briefly, and then get back to work. Block out thoughts about what you should have studied or what's going to happen tomorrow. The important thing while you're taking a test is the present: right here, right now. Nothing else should get in the way.

And nothing makes you less worried and more confident than being prepared. So, prepare for the GED test, HiSET exam, or TASC test. Find out as much as you can about the test and what's on it. Visit the test center in advance, so you get familiar with it. The less strange and new everything is, the easier it will be to overcome fear. Study well, and feel confident in what you know. And the day of the test, eat right, dress comfortably, and give yourself plenty of time. Fear doesn't need to get in your way. You can conquer test anxiety, and you can conquer the exam.

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Passing the GED® Test: Test Anxiety by Gretta Van Andel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United Stated License, redistribution of this article is allowed under the following terms outlined here.

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