Can Mozart Help You Pass That Test?

Before you take your next exam, try these unusual test-taking strategies

As the term winds down, you will likely be facing tests. If just hearing the word “test” gives you sweaty palms and makes you short of breath, you are not alone. While many people have a fear of tests, you can decrease your anxiety and increase your chances of success by finding the right test-taking strategies. If you think you’ve heard every strategy to help you prepare for tests, we’ve rounded up some of the more unusual strategies that may help you set yourself up for success.

Let Mozart help you

Really, any classical music will do. If you stress when studying for tests, studies have shown that classical music can help keep you calm, which in turn helps you remember more. If classical music isn’t for you, you can try any calming music to get the same effect. You just want to avoid any loud changes in music and keep it softly in the background.

Sleep studying

Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, studies have shown that we can benefit when we spend a few minutes reviewing material before we go to bed. When you sleep, your brain continues to process the information, and you may remember more when you wake up.

Don’t study in the same place twice

While a designated study spot may work for your schoolwork, when it comes to taking tests, you may want to try changing it up. You can force your brain to make new associations and help it retain more information by studying in different locations.

Take a whiff

If you want to help yourself boost your brain power or increase alertness, try smelling essential oils. While some can help with focus, like rosemary, lemon, or basil, others can help you fight tiredness, like peppermint or ginger. You can add a few drops to a vaporizer or just take a whiff from the bottle. To remain calm right before you take the test, try smelling lavender or rosemary as you get settled in your seat.

Dance break

You can’t expect an all-nighter to lead to success. Studying needs to be part of your daily schedule and you need to prepare for tests by continually reviewing material throughout the term to help you better remember the material. But if you schedule a two-hour study session a day, make sure you take small breaks, which not only helps you improve your focus but can boost productivity. Try giving yourself a five-minute dance break, walk around the block, or some other reward you can look forward to and that helps alleviate stress.

Say it out loud

To help improve how much you remember, try reading, or even singing, it out loud. When you study by reading quietly to yourself, you rely on your visual memory to remember what you studied. But when you read out loud, not only to do you use your visual memory, you add an auditory link for your brain, increasing your chances or remembering more.

If you are envious of other students who always perform well on tests, they have probably found the study method that works for them. If you are having trouble in school, keep trying new strategies until you find what works for you.

This post is part of the Harris School of Business weekly blog where we provide lifestyle tips to help support our students. If you are interested in our career training programs, please explore our options, request information, schedule a tour, or call a career advisor at 800-510-7920.