Chapter 13: Test Taking Strategies


You’ve learned how negative thoughts contribute to test anxiety and keep you from doing as well as you can. Take some time to disarm your most frequent offenders. From the following list, select three negative thoughts that you have experienced (or write your own). Then fill in the second and third columns for each statement, as shown in the example.

  • I don’t know anything.…What’s the matter with me?
  • If I fail this test, I’ll flunk the course.
  • I should have studied more.…I’ll never make it through.
  • I just can’t think.…Why did I ever take this course?
  • I know everyone’s doing better than I am.
  • If I fail this test, my dad (or husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, teacher) will be mad. I don’t know how I can face them again.
  • I’m going to be the last one done again.…I must really be stupid.
  • I’m getting really tense again; my hands are shaking.…I can’t even hold the pen.
  • I can’t remember a thing.…This always happens to me.…I never do well on anything.
My negative statementHow rational is this thought? Do you have any evidence that it is true?Reasonable reinforcing or affirmation statements you can use to replace it.
Example: I’m drawing a blank.…I’ll never get the answer…I must really be stupid.I’ve missed questions on things that I studied and knew before.I studied this and know it. I’ll visualize where it’s written in my notes to help me trigger my memory.