As a professor I get to see first-hand the anxiety in my students as we approach finals week. Many are trying to finish up assignments, complete research papers, and prepare for their final exams. A common question that I am frequently asked by my students is how they can overcome test anxiety. Taking tests is a common part of the educational process. Some student spend hours preparing for exams and do very well while others spend days preparing for exams and do poorly. While the Bible does not specifically talk about what we should do to remain calm in the face of an exam, it does have several things to say about stress.
In Ecclesiastes 12:12 we find the following, “Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end and much study wearies the body.” We can all attest to the truth that too much study makes us very, very tired. I always advise my students to begin studying a minimum of 1 week before their scheduled exam date. By breaking our studies down into smaller portions, say a few hours per day, and spreading the hours of study out over several days, we can learn the materials more easily and eliminate a lot of anxiety. If you are reading this blog, you are probably already aware of what attempting to pull an “all nighter”, in combination with high doses of coffee, does to levels of anxiety. The outcome is never good.
Another tip for reducing test anxiety is to just relax and trust the Lord. Philippians 4:6 tells us the following. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The word used here for be careful means don’t be anxious. The Lord cares for you and has your best interest in mind. I always tell my student to make sure that they take a few minutes before starting their exams and pray. Pray that the Lord will help them remember all of the information they have studied. Pray that He will calm their hearts and help them to relax.
If you are in college your semester is about done. I pray that the Lord will give you the peace your need as you face finals week. I pray that you will be prepared for your final exams and that He will take away your anxiety!