Teachers Matter!

Take a moment to appreciate the teachers in your life. They share with us the mysteries of life. They make us smarter, prepare us for the work world or the next step in our education, and make us into better human beings. So take a moment to appreciate the teacher who have walked with you on your path.

When Your Best Wasn’t Enough: Recovering from a Tough Test

You studied, you made flashcards, you went over the study guide over and over and still, your teacher returned an exam with a less than desired score. Instead of letting the results get you down, refuse to accept defeat!

Use the graded exam to learn from your past mistakes. Do you notice any trends about what you got wrong? Is there a particular concept you struggled to execute?

Ask your teacher for extra practice, such as a pretest, before and after the exam. Teachers will often have older versions of the exam to use as a practice test before the graded exam. Take advantage of these and you’ll increase your skill and your teacher will be impressed at your extra effort.

Ask for a re-take. Teachers are sometimes willing to re-administer a test if some circumstance prevented you from performing fully on your test.

Review our test-taking and test-anxiety articles. They provide some insight about how to take on your tests with confidence.

Practice self-affirmation. Tell yourself as much as needed that your test performance doesn’t define your character. There’s much more to you than a grade.

Participate in a favorite hobby to relax and unwind.

Remain positive. Tests, though a major portion of your grade, have a tendency to average out. Ask for your professor to discount your lowest test grade.

Seek extra support. It may take an extra set of eyes to identify why you’re having trouble executing on your tests. Besides, having a study partner will ramp up your ability to process learning by remaining consistent and accountable to a schedule. Need a boost? Contact AHCS for personalized tutoring.

Am I Prepared for My Test? (Inventory)

Rank yourself on these inventory measures to evaluate how prepared you are for your test. Credit to LSU Center for Academic Success.


5- Always 4- Usually 3- Sometimes 2- Not Often 1- Never

  • I use a master to-do list to write out all the requirements for the test
  • I know and use my preferred learning style to process material
  • I attend class and listen to cues from my professor to understand what she finds important
  • I review course materials often (notes, concepts, problems, etc.)
  • I interact with material from class to move it from short term to log term memory
  • I take care of myself: I get adequate rest and eat healthily
  •  I conduct short, spaced study sessions through the week
  • I complete all work and required readings
  • I ask questions when I need clarification (classmates, teachers, text, etc.)
  • I utilize available resources: office hours, study groups, tutoring, supplemental instruction sessions, etc.
  • I know key concepts and vocabulary
  • I understand and apply concepts from my courses
  • I understand material well enough to explain it to someone else
  • I am familiar with the syllabi from my courses
  • I test my learning: I understand concepts well enough to not have to refer to notes or text
  • I use weekends to review weekly notes.


If your score is:

65-80 You are preparing well

40-64 You need a tune up!

16-39 You need some major adjustments

Focus on the 1s and 2s to start making improvements. You don’t have to do it all on your own. The tutors at AHCS are here to help. Contact us today.

Reduce Test Anxiety

Incorporate these strategies to reduce your test anxiety:

Create a pretest routine – Do something that will aid in preparing you to test. Prepare a hot tea, do deep breathing exercises, or make sure your pencils have sharpened tips. These sorts of sequences will subconsciously signal to your mind and body that it’s time to take a test. The regularity will be a reassuring activity to bring on feelings of calm and relaxation.

Take a pretest; Expose yourself to a testing environment – the more your encounter test-like environments before the day of the test, the less nerve wracked you’ll feel the day of.

Take care of your physical needs – Hydrate. Eat a snack. Breathe deeply. Get plenty of rest on the days leading up to the test.

Manage your time – Time your practice tests. Go to the next question or section if you have difficulty.

Limit the scope of your study – Rather than repeating the entire chapter, pare down what you will review through anticipating hat will be on the test. In order to anticipate what will be on the test, refer to your notes and study guide. Knowing exactly what to focus on will make your studies more manageable and less likely to produce anxiety.

Positive imagery – close your eyes and imagine a scene of triumph over your test. Imagining successful situations will make it seem more attainable.

Mindfulness / Progressive relaxation – Clear your mind of all your thoughts and focus on one part of your body. Start from your toes and work your way to your head. When you focus on a section of your body, tense it for 10 to 20 seconds, then relax. Complete a cycle through your entire body. This activity will help ease your tension and relax your racing thoughts.

See our article on test taking strategies of top testers.

Like mastering any subject, overcoming anxiety takes practice, exposure, and time. Need a coach through your test anxiety? Contact AHCS for a tutor!

Test Your Best

These tips will keep you testing at your best:


  • Listen for key words or phrases that signal content that may be on the test
    • Keep a reference sheet at the ready for the test.
  • Get questions answered sooner rather than later to keep pace with the course content.


  • Study your best
  • Get enough rest the week of the test. Your brain will process study materials more efficiently.
  • Use a study guide or any materials to expose you to the test’s structure
    • create your own study guide of content that you will emphasize in your study

During the Test

  • Manage your time
  • Work out of order: tackle big-point sections first, skip harder questions until the end
  • Preview test questions and skim reading passages for answers

Post test:

  • review answers with a friend
  • seek out tutoring support from AHCS! 🙂


Ready to get more out of your academics? Contact AHCS to progress, scholar!