Tag Archives: tests

Superstitions? Call it What You Want… Just Do It!

24 Oct

Test taking can bring out some strange habits in all of us. Some people call them superstitions, others call them habits, and for some people it’s just normal.
We do these things because we believe that we will perform better and if we don’t, who knows what will happen.
We asked our Peer Mentors about some of their test-taking superstitions, and here’s what they had to say. Enjoy!

Erika L: I have a fear of accidentally skipping questions and ruining my bubble sheet so I wait to bubble until after I have gone through each question. I listen to music right before the exam instead of cramming or looking over my notes because it helps me get pumped. Cramming while in the test room makes me feel panicked and rushed, so I avoid it. And I always take a deep breath before starting the exam because it helps relax me.

Madeline: Right before an exam I do not for any reason look at my phone or go online. In middle school, I once heard a superstition that stated if you look at your phone, watch TV, or go online right before you are about to take an exam, you will forget nearly everything you have reviewed that day! Now I know this is not exactly true, but I got used to not using such entertaining devices right before my exams. Does it help or not? I couldn’t tell you. However, that’s the cool thing about superstitions. You may not know if they actually work or not, but you keep at it anyway!

Allymyr: On the day of an exam, no matter how tired I am, I always make an effort to look my best. When I know I look good, I feel confident and that’s always important whenever going into an exam (even though I don’t always feel ready going into it). My motto is: “Dress to impress in order to ace that test!” If I come out of a bad exam, I still feel somewhat positive because I still look good no matter what!

Briana: The second I get my exam, I flip to the very last page, read through the questions, and answer the very last question. I think it gives me a sense that I’m almost done with the exam (even though I’m clearly not) because I’ve answered the last question, which reduced a whole lotta stress for me.

Christine: Once I get to my exam, I flip it to the back of the book and I work backwards through the entire test. I have found that this has helped me with my time management because I know exactly how many questions there are left, and how much time I can spend on each thing. I also have a fear of missing bubbles, so I start that from the bottom as well and work backwards, checking every 5 questions to make sure everything is okay. Before a test, I listen to “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins because it makes me feel better if I am under-prepared, and I put on my Frank Sinatra playlist because his voice calms me down. I always sit in the front row to make sure no one/ nothing distracts me. I have a lot of traditions before exams, but I don’t know if they would work for anyone else. They have always worked for me!

Leylah: When I study before my exams, I chew a specific flavor of gum. So on exam day, I always have to chew that same brand and flavor of gum to help my memory and test taking efficiency. For me it really does work!

Erica S: Before an exam, I have a tradition of calling my mom and/or texting my sisters. For some reason, I feel like they are able to calm me down and let me know everything is going to be alright. They always tell me that I have prepared to the best of my ability, so even if it doesn’t go well, at least I gave it my all. I also try to look my prettiest, because one of my best friends has always told me “if you look pretty, you do pretty.” Although it is always tempting to roll out of bed before heading to an exam, I now try to wear a dress and look my best!

Elena: When I receive an exam, I normally look at the last page (especially if there are essay questions) and write notes about everything I remember about the topic before I start the rest of the exam. If it is a multiple choice exam, the last thing I do is fill in my scantron. In high school, one of my teachers told me that peppermint jogs the memory, so on test days when I am really struggling, I try to find a peppermint and hope for the best.

Everyone has different superstitions, just do what makes you feel more confident! And good luck!


Five Tips for Relaxation

6 Oct

As an incoming freshman, when it came to studying, I wasn’t riding the struggle bus. I was driving it. I had a peculiar problem, though. My studying went swimmingly…I had trouble with my study breaks. I didn’t know what to do with that time. I usually spent my study breaks telling myself I’d take a quick, five-minute nap. Next thing I knew, I was waking up three hours later.

Over time, I learned some tips on how to have quick, effective study breaks. I want to share those with you!

1. Eat a Snack


Put the potato chips aside and pick some food with brain power! Nuts, dark chocolate (yes, chocolate!), and apples have been proven to enhance your mental alertness and memory function. Need some ideas for other good study snacks? Click here.

2. Have a Dance Party


If it were up to me, every second of the day would be a dance party, so this is my favorite tip. Studying usually means sitting in one place for a pretty lengthy amount of time, which makes your body tired and consequently makes your brain tired. Pick your favorite song, put in some headphones, and bust a move!

3. Go Outside


Get in touch with nature and go outside. Harvard Medical School completed a study on the effects of being outside and found that by leaving the indoors, your body absorbs Vitamin D, your mood becomes happier and more optimistic, and your concentration will improve. (Extra points if you combine a dance party and go outside like Sandra Bullock).

4. Try a “One Song Workout”


Just like the dance party, doing a one-song workout will wake you up and get you energized. Just Google “One-Song Workout” and a number of different routines will appear to go along with songs from your favorite artists.

5. Watch a Cute Animal Video


As silly as it may seem, watching cat/dog videos is a great way to spend your study break. Study breaks should be a time for you to let your brain relax and do something that will brighten your mood. Just make sure not to fall into the black hole that is YouTube.

Happy studying, Wildcats!


Test Taking, D2L, Office Hours, My Oh My, You’re in College Now!

11 Apr

Over the last four years at U of A I have realized that you pick up many tips along the way, such as, don’t park over night in the garages unless you have a parking pass, always pack a bottle of water, and always mark your planner when you have tests. Although these tasks are minimal, they are very easy to forget. My time spent as a freshman was in a state of chaos, always scrambling last minute to study or pulling an all-nighter to finish that paper that ‘s due Monday at 8am. I will admit it now. . .  I was the Princess of Procrastination. At the end of semester, I did successfully pass all of my classes, but always found myself stressed out, tired, and not enjoying school.


As I entered my Sophomore year I knew I had to change my ways or else I would go crazy with this type or lifestyle. I began finding study groups in my classes. By doing this when I was going to study I already had a selected academic group that would be helpful to study with. I also found out that by having friends in class, you then are less likely to ditch. Another great study tip is visiting your professor’s office hours. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING….. blah blah blah everyone says that. But, let’s approach this from a different perspective. In college you are usually in classes with hundreds of other students, making an impression on your professor is rather difficult and when you are trying to seek out help in your class you may feel like you are the only one who is having this problem. You’re not. Your professor was once a student as well, be open-minded and stop assuming your professor won’t understand where you are coming from. Lastly, being a college student is about being an adult and taking responsibilities seriously. Your job is to be a student, act professionally in your classes; don’t text, get off Facebook, and take good notes.  Take your role as a student seriously, by doing this you will mold your habits and behavior to succeed in your academic setting.


Mental attitude is everything, as a student you are challenging yourself is multiple subjects areas when you feel that you are lacking motivation to start studying look over your past behaviors and habits. Ask yourself are these things good for me as a student? Am I taking my role as a student as serious as I can? What can I do in my role to improve my success as a student?