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INTRODUCTION : ELIMINATING TEST ANXIETY
Unfortunately, learning to write great term papers isn't the only hurdle you'll need to leap in the race to achieve good grades. Even the best researchers & writers have been known to earn high marks on essays & reports while performing poorly on at least one exam for the same class. Too many students have experienced the dreaded feelings of uncertain panic the night before a "big test" and those same students often wind up coping with the devastating negativity that surrounds the receipt of an "F." Reading this guide suggests that you've probably had some firsthand experience cowering at the stresses brought on by mid-term and final exams. If you've ever celebrated the end of "exam week" with profound relief (and grave concern over whether or not you "passed")... OR if you've ever hoped an upcoming test would be multiple choice...when it wasn't... OR if you've ever tried to cram an entire semester of lessons into one or two nights of quick learning "just for a test..".. OR if you've ever walked out of a classroom chewing your nails and asking those around you..... "What answer did YOU put down for the question about....?" -- then you are indeed a student who needs to completely refine your preparation methods & approach to studying in order to lead a more comfortable, stress-free academic life! Use THIS guide to help shine a light on the path to greater academic comfort.. with techniques that should help you decrease your anxieties while increasing your grades -- without having to sacrifice too much extra free time!

CRAM, YES BUT NOT ALL AT ONCE.. FORCE YOURSELF TO CRAM FIFTEEN MINUTES AT A TIME -- ONCE EACH WEEK
Sure, it's much easier said than done: We've all heard the warning "don't wait 'till the night before" --and you'll feel as though that same caution is implied in this very guide. But far too many students only have a loose understanding of their subject material and still go on to attempt to learn it all on their own one week or even one night before an exam. Some students promise they'll turn over a "new leaf" and "do it right this time" at the onset of a semester but somehow wind up in the same predicament time and time again... often failing or just "getting by" at best. Those with poor study habits..and even those students with admirable study habits...need to look more deeply into the meanings BEHIND the age-old wisdom that urges us not to wait for the last minute: For one thing, any questions you have can't really be answered the night before....any confusion cannot be clarified... confusion creates more panic...panic reduces your ability to focus..to retain... further damaging your last-minute study abilities. And doesn't every house need a strong foundation? If you've only laid the groundwork for your "learning" a night or two before, how much time has it had to sink in ? How could the concrete have dried already? The foundation can't possibly be stable. Think of all that pain, anxiety, and stress you go through procrastinating until the night before. Do you WANT to eliminate that feeling? Then start at the BEGINNING!: If you begin studying once PER WEEK [let's say, every Wednesday night...]..just for a few minutes... pretending ...and even convincing yourself that there is going to be a quiz the next day, you'll build in steps. You wont have to give up partying or going out... It's just a FEW

MINUTES each week...*but you're laying a foundation*.... If you learn lesson #1 during week 1...and review/study it THAT week... and then you do the same thing the following week with lesson # 2...and then with lesson # 3 and so on and so on...by the time exam week rolls around.. you only need to review what you already know and those few points that may have gotten a little blurred over the semester. But along the way, you had the time to figure things out, to ask questions, etc; Your ANXIETY is reduced...the tension...the stress are diminished...You know what to expect..you know what's been taught...and you understand what should have been learned. You'll be able to rest [and maybe even GO OUT!] the night before exams...confident that you know what to do and that you will most likely perform well. But once again, merely promising yourself that you will do this and actually DOING it are, indeed, two entirely different things! You've got to make up your mind [even if you honestly don't care much for school] that you DESPISE the feeling of test anxiety...of dreading exams..and of being semi-clueless the night before. Consider how much time and energy you'd save spending 15 minutes per week review-studying as though you were going to have a quiz the next day. FORCING YOURSELF TO "CRAM" early...and routinely...rather than all in one shot. Over a 12 week semester, we're talking about a total of 3 hours time [15 minutes X 12 weeks]...Over a 16 week semester, that's still only 4 total hours of time invested by just spending approximately 15 minutes each week at it. More importantly, you'll have learned the steps of the ladder on the way up--instead of trying to jump to the top --all in one huge leap--the night before. Just think of what happens when you try to shove an entire hamburger in your mouth at once...and chew as fast as you can without swallowing. Why go through all of that when you can enjoy a far more comfortable "scholastic meal"---taking one bite at a time...one cram session each week...until you reach the end of the hamburger..or, in this case,...the end of the semester! If you can fully admit that you don't want to feel like you're stuffing your brain at the last minute ever again....and if you can completely understand how cramming for 4-5 hours the night before isn't as EASY as cramming for 15 minutes each week over 12-16 weeks...then you're on your way to creating new study habits. And, of course, you COULD always go for higher grades and spend MORE than 15 minutes each week..making sure you understand EVERYTHING !!!

IMPORTANCE OF THE MID-TERM [AND OTHER MID-SEMESTER EXAMS]
Most underachievers and crammers study their class syllabus more than any other document handed out in class throughout the semester. They want to know what percentage of their grade will be determined by each exam, quiz, and paper. Almost immediately, these students begin calculating and recalculating the lowest grade they need in each area to achieve their goals and to "get by." Throughout the semester, students tend to recalculate "what they'll need on the final" based on their prior performances...in order to make sure they can just get by. Surely no one is COMFORTABLE with these feelings though? Here again: Wouldn't it be great to psyche yourself to ELIMINATE those tensions that endure throughout the semester and only get worse and worse as finals draw nearer?!? As above, we are not going to even try to dramatically reshape your habits in one guide...BUT..what if you could keep the same rough tactics...analyzing and reanalyzing your potential final grades...planning how to

"get by"--but you could make ONE CHANGE and get through the semester with less stress? The answer is ridiculously simple!: Even if it's "worth" a smaller percentage of your grade, PLAN FOR THE MID-TERM AS THOUGH IT WERE THE FINAL. Psyche yourself to believe the MID-TERM [or each mid-semester quiz/exam] is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in determining your final grade. Put all of your emphasis there. Once again, you'll be building a stronger FOUNDATION. The effect will be twofold: 1) to at least some degree, you'll improve your grade early on in the semester leaving less to chance and 2) you'll most likely even perform better on the final because you will have learned the mid-semester material better AND because you will take that last exam with less stress & anxiety-- knowing you've already earned a respectable position in the grading curve to date! In a way it's sort of like a bowling psychology: Some bowlers are more likely to roll strikes and spares in the latter frames of the game when they've already done well in the first few frames. Early achievement boosts their confidence and motivates better play. A bowler who turns negative and "feels the game is lost" simply because they didn't do "that well" in the first few frames...probably will not do much better in the last few frames. Get yourself OFF to a good start with your heels dug well into the new semester...and you should have a far better chance of withstanding anything that comes your way around final exam time...and, of holding your ground!

"OK, OK, I GOT IT -- BUT WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WHILE STUDYING ANYWAY?!? I NEVER *REALLY* DO IT !"
It's true that there are many students who "get by" without ever doing any real studying but it's probably not true that there are students who truly have NO clue HOW to study....Students who disagree usually just have no clue how to motivate THEMSELVES to do it. Unfortunately, schools simply do not spend enough time teaching students HOW to study effectively...leaving much of it up to personal technique and even individual chance. For the purpose of this discussion there are two general kinds of exams: Multiple-choice/fill-in exams which require you to recall names, dates, concepts, and other facts of trivia with the multiple choice variety, of course, being far easier since you can more readily identify right answers when they're already presented to you as one of several options. The other kind of exam is an ESSAY exam, requiring students to write several paragraphs in response to a question (or commenting on a theory, etc;) to evidence their knowledge of the concept and/or their ability to think freely & logically about it. In most cases, students can "get by" just memorizing a few dozen notions, names, dates, etc; Often, this works even on essay exams. But HOW do you retain the information? HOW do you make studying meaningful and...even...dare we say...a bit amusing or even desirable? Particularly if you're going to do it at least once a week for 15 minutes as we've reasoned, you'll need to discipline yourself to stick to using some unique..interesting...study tool...that you don't regularly use now.. Read on: One of the greatest techniques for studying involves the creation of silly songs about the topic at-hand. Many have HEARD of this technique but few have used it more than once. The trick is to motivate yourself to a) do it, b) to do it WELL, and c) to keep on doing it for EVERY exam. Whenever you're studying, you WISH you could be doing something else, right? You're easily distracted? Sometimes you probably even read

entire pages and then realize you have no clue what you've just read. CHANGE ALL OF THAT: Focus on creating rhymes...slogans...songs, etc; Doing so will a) more fully demand your attention, b) make it easier to memorize the material, c) make the chore of studying a BIT more enjoyable... If nothing else, this technique DEFINITELY works better than any that currently only lead to falling asleep with a partially-read book over your face! Simply take some basic concepts from your textbook and transform them into basic songs, and raps--make them RHYME... Sing the song over and over in your head and even out loud... You'll probably begin to find that you know the words/lyrics to your creation in almost no time at all--and you'll be humming it back to yourself the next day at the exam like crib notes--but in your HEAD/MIND--so they're "legit!" Remember: it doesn't matter how corny or ridiculous your "song" is-- nobody else needs to hear it-just keep humming the rhyming tune in your head--and, of course, be sure to fill it to the brim w/ facts and dates about the topic at-hand! In fact,---as soon as you receive the exam at your desk, you might even want to jot the lyrics down quickly--so you can reference them as you answer questions!

OK, BUT WHAT ABOUT REALLY COMPLICATED EXAMS--- WHEN THAT'S NOT ENOUGH ?
Techniques such as the ones described above will almost always work: The problem isn't their use--- It's YOUR motivation TO use them..and to use them completely and consistently. If you aren't motivated to invest only 15 minutes or so per week... If you aren't motivated to make little songs & rhyming jingles about the topic-matter-- then you're really not motivated to cram either! In fact, taking tests may very well remain impossible! If you can't climb the small hill of 15 minutes per week... how do you EVER expect to leap the huge mountain of cramming-all-in-one-night? Face facts: If you were so comfortable with last minute cramming -- you probably wouldn’t be reading this guide! It's been said that one can lead a horse to water, but they can't make them drink. This guide IS your water..YOU are the horse in this analogy---and it's up to YOU to take the sip-- To take 2 steps back..to move 3 steps forward...to start doing what may SOUND a little more difficult--but will LOGICALLY--be far easier in the long run. For any exam... large or small... multiple choice.. or essay.. spend at least 15 minutes each week reviewing the lessons... and make rhymes..make jingles..learn them..and recite them to yourself. Remember: One of the many reasons some of us despise studying is that it seems to confine us to silence and solitude while our minds are wandering elsewhere. But if you've read this much of our guide, you can certainly read this much of a textbook.. Again, it's all up to YOUR psychology... up to how YOU view it..up to how YOU psyche YOURself. Use this guide as a map...and write out/summarize the directions for yourself--to see your way NOT through one night of cramming but rather through a SEMESTER of studying. Add steps along the way: After each study session, try creating an interactive quiz --get a friend or anyone to ask you questions--and see if you can answer them while silently reciting that week's made-up jingle rhyme in your head. Psychologically, these techniques combined [and individually] should make the "job" of studying...and of LEARNING...far less stressful --and therefore, much ... much easier!

So why are you still playing around on the Internet? Print this out..study it...and start making a plan!

SPEND MORE TIME PAYING ATTENTION IN* CLASS AND YOU'LL SPEND LESS TIME STUDYING AT HOME
Still reading this? If you're a last minute test-crammer, you probably recognize that you also don't pay nearly enough attention WHILE YOU'RE IN CLASS! As difficult as it may be to listen to what you regard as another "boring" lecture, just think of how much LESS ANXIETY you would feel around test time, if you could actually RECALL things that were told to you in class. Try to pick teachers that are as reputedly interesting as possible, come to class w/ a positive attitude, and find a way to psyche yourself to give it your fullest attention from beginning to end. Take notes.. try to write rhymes about what the instructor is teaching as the information is given out! Whatever works--but remember: YOU DON'T KNOW UNTIL YOU GENUINELY TRY! In sum, you can't erase mistakes that began the first week of classes. If you build your house upon a weak foundation, it's probably going to come apart at some point near final exams. Even if you've become a "cram master" and are capable of repairing parts of it as it falls... it's still only enough to just "get by" with a mediocre grade and that's probably not what you TRULY want--otherwise you wouldn't have read this much of our guide! As many "tricks" as you think you've learned in the past.. poor planning has probably almost NEVER earned you an "A"-- a 4.0 ... or anything near a high score! PREPARE for your exams.. .in steps...throughout the entire semester. What usually goes wrong is poor planning. Overly-creative, highly intelligent students begin each semester with genuine hope and personal promise but typically end the semester with a sense of underachievement and dissolution that had begun to set in even before mid-terms. Understand that when a professor hands out a syllabus, it is essentially serving as a contract between teacher and student-- as a mandate for what is to be expected and as a set of guidelines dictating how the student's work will be evaluated. But on paper it all looks so simple: This quiz will earn us this many points... that exam will add on that many points...Syllabi tend to give students an illusionary sense of ease because they enable us to visualize the entire semester on two or three sheets of photocopied paper. Syllabi do not, however, have the ability to show us the in-between days... the work that must be done at home... the long hours of laboring necessary to achieve a perfect score on each exam. And so we subconsciously note the date that first test will take place and wrongly allow ourselves to slip into a state of academic ease until just a day or two before test time...when we realize we don't know the material well enough to even get a "B." How can a student avoid this? Don't look at the whole semester right when you first get your syllabus. Break each semester down into little, sub-goals first. At the start of the term, review your syllabus carefully and understand the FIRST lesson to be taught. Worry about how to excel at THAT lesson and ONLY at that lesson. Truly take it one week at a time... Concentrate only on what is to be expected of you in the very next class and focus all of your time and energy on achieving a mastery over that one subtopic. Create a jingle..recite it..review everything for at least 15 minutes...Do this each week and when test time finally does roll around-- you'll hardly need to study...

you'll only need to "review." But remember: behind all of this-- the underlying secret remains in the psychology...in how well YOU psyche YOURSELF to follow a new program... DO IT!.. MAKE IT HAPPEN! Create a new you for this semester and shock yourself with higher grades and less anxiety...

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