Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Anyone else here a good student,but a bad test taker or had a terrible semester?Help!

renlizabethrenlizabeth Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited November 2012 in College Life
Hey all,

So I've been having a lot of trouble in most of my classes lately. I'm a junior going on senior, an accounting/finance double major. I seem to be getting terrible grades on my tests for some of my courses. I study so much and seem to grasp the material, but when I go in on test day I try to be confident and calm...but I get anxious inside because I know I'm a bad test taker. I take the test and usually walk out feeling semi-confident, but when I get my grade it's completely unacceptable and really embarrassing.

I've always been a good student and now I seem to have this terrible outcome when it comes to test taking. I've always had trouble on standardized tests and test taking in general, but I don't know what else to attribute it to or what to do about it. I need to improve.

Either way I'm completely down on myself and really in need for some advice and encouragement.

Anyone else here a good student, but a bad test taker or had a terrible semester? How'd you turn it around?
Post edited by renlizabeth on

Replies to: Anyone else here a good student,but a bad test taker or had a terrible semester?Help!

  • TheJourney123TheJourney123 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    The important thing to learn is that failure is a part of life. Every single person fails at an academic, moral, or practical level. Don't be fooled, every person fails at a small or grand scale. Your life will not turn out for worse because you have had a bad semester. There are people who have lost their legs and they still manage to "walk" it off.

    Next, you need to stop telling yourself you are a bad tester. Hypothetically, let's say you are a bad test taker, you don't need to constantly reaffirm it.

    There could be the possibility you can be studying a lot, but studying ineffectively. I can brush the floor with a toothbrush or a mop and get the same result. I can't help you with that because I can't witness how you study or what happens in your life on a daily basis.

    Practice breathing exercise perhaps before the test or during the test? Ignore the chatter of the students and the atmosphere of anxiousness that all students display before a test. Be a steadfast tower, don't fold like a deck of cards.

    Ask for help. Ask for the right help. Communicate with your professors, they will be happy to help, if not find someone you can trust.
  • SL123456SL123456 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I just searched in the toolbar bad test taker because im going through the same thing...
    and i must admit it was comforting that others feel the same way, and also the persons response was really nice.
    and i agree, cant keep reminding yourself youre a bad test taker. i do it too. a lot of stuff is "all in your head"
    but i also dont really have a solution, ive had this problem for a while..its not that i get bad grades, but considering how much i feel like i know compared to people i study with and the grades we get it just doesnt justify my knowledge.
    but what ive noticed is the biggest thing is your mentality when taking the test. i felt like stressing myself out for a test made me do good, made me focused. but you have to be confident and know that you studied enough and somehow calm yourself while taking the test and get in the zone. everyone has bad days...
    hopefully we can figure it out, im just doing trial and error. hopefully one day ill find a way? hoping for a little less error...
  • anialwaysanialways Registered User Posts: 1,210 Senior Member

    I am going to agree with you partially. Because good students can get anxiety attacks and that can cause one to to do badly. BUT the bigger issue is how to fix that. You can lessen or avoid anxiety only if you prepare well. And to prepare well the whole learning process has to undergo a change.

    So the tips that I am going to share with you are some that have helped my D. She was so stressed out her freshman year that she would fall sick right before her exam either with really bad sinus or hyperacidity. Leaving home for college was very overwhelming, too many adjustments. So apart from learning some de-stressing techniques she had to consciously and actively change her learning style and go from little/casual preparation, which worked well for her through High School, to changing her learning techniques that would make sure she was giving her hundred percent.

    1. Make sure you attend all the classes.

    2. Sit in the front row in the class.

    3. Participate in the class. If you do not understand, ask.

    4. Use the Office hours. You will be surprised what a difference this can make.

    5. Always do and submit your assignments on time.

    6. Break your preparation into manageable portions. Too much at one time can be overwhelming.

    7. Practice and do sample papers.

    8. Join a Learning centre at your school.

    9. If you can afford one, hire a private tutor.

    10. Do not Procrasinate.

    Accumulated work can be so overwhelming and damaging to one's self-confidence. Because then you start questioning your ability. And that affects your preparation. And that leads to self doubt and anxiety and panic attacks. It is a viscious circle.

    Once you do these thoroughly and sincerely, you will begin to feel more confident in your abilities and capabilities and that will build your self-confidence, which in turn will take care of anxiety and panic.

    The other thing that you need to learn are Tips for Reducing Test Taking Anxiety.

    The following links might be of some help. Do not worry too much. You can do it. You have to believe in yourself. And the more prepared and educated you are about this condition, the better your coping mechanism will be.

    Reducing Test Taking Anxiety

  • lnnyxinbiellnnyxinbiel Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I am good student too.. I did all my assignments, every day studied 3 hours per subject (~12 hours per day). I went to tutoring, I ask questions, went to professor office for help, understood the topics very well.On the final exam, I got a score of 72. Why? I am really slow at taking test. I tend to make sure the answer is perfect before I move to next question, wasting time to later on find out that the last question was worth 20 points, realizing that I should've check all the questions before starting the test.
  • quidditchcatquidditchcat Registered User Posts: 2,894 Senior Member
    I don't know how disabilities programs work at your school, but you may be eligible for test accommodations, if even methods of reducing test anxiety do not work.
  • sweetlacecharmsweetlacecharm Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    I tend to do good on my homework assignments and on mini quizzes, but when it comes to the actual tests, I'm bad with them because it takes me a while to understand the question and recall information. Even if I've studied, information gets jumbled up in my head. It's like trying to put together a 5,000 puzzle piece but not being able to find what piece goes with what. Written tests are the worst for me, because my hand cramps up really badly when writing for a long time. I actually had to give in and turn in my Asian American history final with the essay portion partially incomplete because my hand hurt THAT bad and I couldn't write anymore, and I'm not ambidextrous to switch to writing with my opposite hand.
  • harvestmoonharvestmoon Registered User Posts: 952 Member
    Don't feel bad! This isn't an all or nothing sort of thing. Just because you struggle with tests doesn't mean you're not cut out for college or dumb or anything. It's just a weak point from which you can improve.

    Like someone else mentioned, perhaps you just aren't studying effectively. Have you found that your lower scores are due to not understanding the stuff you studied or not having studied the right things? Since you said you feel semi-confident right after you take it, maybe it is the case that you're not properly understanding what you're studying. Maybe you think you know it but you didn't go as in-depth as you should have or something? This is where going to office hours helps because you can clarify with your professor that you're studying the right things.

    And also, just studying for a long time doesn't always guarantee that you'll do well on a test. Sometimes it's about studying smarter. If you study during shorter bursts when you're really, really focused, that might prove to be more valuable than studying for 3 hours when you're completely exhausted. It varies from person to person and you just need to find your thing and when/where you study best.

    Finally, I'd like to say please don't beat yourself up over this. If you keep at it, it'll bring you down and cause you to do worse. Just focus on improving and reaching out for help. Go to your professors' office hours, go to the tutoring center, study with your classmates - do whatever it takes to get the right material nestled in your brain. You can overcome this by working hard and working SMART!

    Good luck to you with everything :)
This discussion has been closed.