Tips for Reducing Stress on the Day of Your TASC Test
Is your test day quickly approaching?
Whether you’re taking your first subject test or your last subject test – or both on the same day – you will probably experience some stress or anxiety. Testing can be a stressful experience, and can be even more so if you are hoping to pass the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ in order to find a new job or start a college program.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are many steps you can take on the day of the test to take control of your stress. We offer some advice for the day of the test, including advice from Cristal Tracy, a TASC test taker from Indiana.
Tracy said, “I was a part of the first group to take the TASC test at [my] testing center. We had people get up during the test and walk out without even trying to see if they could pass. They gave up on themselves. My advice is to just persevere, don’t give up, and stay strong.”
A healthy mindset is the first step towards reducing your stress. Here are some additional tips for the day of your test:
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This isn’t just good advice for the night before your subject test. This is good advice for your entire study process, and for at least the week before the day of your test.
Brian Wittle of U.S. News reports: “There is a persistent and damaging myth that puling an all-nighter indicates your seriousness when preparing for an exam. In truth, studying all evening is the worst possible response to anxiety. Not only is it nearly impossible to remember material read at 3 a.m., but a lack of sleep clouds your mind the next day and perhaps into the week beyond.”
Sleepless nights can contribute to long-term stress, which can dramatically impact your performance on test day. This is primarily because without quality sleep, you cannot effectively form memories. And without this memory-making process, all of your studying will not be committed to your memory.
Wittle notes that exercises and downtime can relieve your stress, but nothing is as effective as sleep. Make sure you get at least a week’s worth of good sleep before the day of your TASC test.
2. Eat Breakfast
On the morning of your subject test, make sure you save time for breakfast. This might seem unrelated to test taking strategies, but studies have found that students actually think better on full stomachs. It’s easier to recall facts, and to use logic skills when you’ve eaten. Plus, you’re more likely to feel awake – which can be helpful if you’re taking the test early and you’re not typically a morning person.
When you’re planning for the day of, you can also plan for more than just breakfast. Plan to arrive at the testing center early and save time for a quick ten-minute review session.
3. Have Everything You Need
Pencils? A snack? Directions to the testing center? Money for parking?
The experts at StudyPoint suggest setting out whatever you need the morning of the test the night before. It’s a simple step, but it can save you time because it “will guarantee that test day begins well and not with a panicked run around the house to look for missing items.” This can reduce anxiety and help guarantee that you won’t forget anything.
Even more, do whatever you can the night before. If you have kids, this could mean making their lunches the night before, securing a ride to school in the morning, or finding a babysitter. This could also mean making sure your gas tank is full and finishing any paperwork you might need to bring with you to the testing center. Do whatever you can to make the morning run as smoothly as possible.
4. Take a Deep Breath
On your way to the test center, take deep breaths. When you sit down to your test, take three more. And if you feel stuck at any point, another one.
Why? Because deliberately expanding your chest to take a deep breath relaxes your muscles. Wittle reports that these exercises will make your muscles “work normally again.” When you’re feeling stressed, your muscles can tense and this can distract you. You may feel uncomfortable, and even become self-conscious while you’re working on the test. Take a few seconds to calm yourself with these deep breaths and a stretch.
Wittle adds that a bonus of these deep breaths is that “increased flow of oxygen helps energize your brain” and that “this technique takes only a moment.” Using it before your subject test or during can give you the added boost you need to work through a difficult section, or to remind you of material that you’ve been struggling to remember.
5. Know Your Strategy and Focus on It
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety on the day of the test is to know what your test strategy is, and be prepared to use it on the day of the test. Whether you’ve developed a strategy for the paper-and-pencil-based [Link to “Test Taking Strategies for the Paper Test”] or the computer-based [Link to “Test Taking Strategies for the Computer Test”] TASC test, you need to know how you plan to take the test.
The experts at StudyPoint remind test takers, “many students have success with answering easy questions first, then returning to more difficult ones later. Other students find that rephrasing difficult questions help.” Whatever your strategy is, know it ahead of time and go into the test with confidence that this strategy will help you be the most effective tester you can be.