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Jeanetta Mastron, an AUHS Teaching Assistant, discusses how students could improve their study skills in the Test-Taking Strategies Workshop on Friday, April 28, 2017.

American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) held its first “Test-Taking Strategies Workshop” for its students in Room 203 from 4-6 pm on Friday, April 28, 2017. The workshop was facilitated by Jeanetta Mastron, an AUHS Teaching Assistant. Mastron discussed several methods of how students could improve their study habits and optimize their test-taking performance. One of the key topics Mastron discussed in the workshop was “test anxiety” or one’s fear of failing the exam.

“Test anxiety is very normal. I don’t get it all the time but I get test anxiety when I’m not prepared for the exam,” Mastron said, “The best way to prevent test anxiety is to be prepared.”

Test anxiety involved a wide range of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms, according to Mastron. A person with test anxiety could exhibit physical symptoms such as chest pains, trouble breathing, sweaty hands, headache, faintness, and fast heartbeat. An individual who has text anxiety could experience emotional symptoms such as excessive fear, disappointment, depression, anger, feelings of helplessness, and uncontrollable laughing or crying. The cognitive symptoms of test anxiety include racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, avoidance, forgetfulness, and frustration. After describing some of the common signs of test anxiety, Mastron then asked the students who attended the workshop if they had ever experienced any of these symptoms before an exam.

“I get a cold and sweaty feeling when I’m taking my tests,” said one AUHS nursing student, “Too many things are going in my head and I don’t know what answer to choose.”

Another AUHS nursing student explained that when he takes a test, he usually feels an “over-rationalization of things” which causes him to repeatedly change the answers on his test.

The key to preventing or alleviating one’s test anxiety is to be prepared. Mastron suggested that the students take at least five days to prepare for their tests. In her “Five Day Test Preparation Plan,” Mastron outlined the basic steps of what students had to do each day to boost their exam performance. On Day 5, (or the first day of the test preparation plan), Mastron suggested that students review their textbooks, notes, and handouts from that particular class. She encouraged students to highlight the information they need to know on the exam.

On Day 4 (the second day of test preparation), a student should practice what they need to know on the exam by using mnemonic techniques. A Mnemonic is a device such as a pattern of letters or associations that help one improve memorization. For example, In English, the seven coordinating conjunctions are “For,” “And,” “Nor,” “But,” “Or,” “Yet,” and “So.” If you take the first letter of each conjunction and put them together, it makes the word, “FANBOYS.” FANBOYS is a mnemonic device.

On Day 3, (the third day of test preparation), Mastron advised that students rewrite the information in a “brief form” or using the fewest words possible. She suggested that they use mnemonic strategies to review their written notes at least twice per day. For Day 2, Mastron encouraged students to think of questions their teacher might ask on the test. After the students had written a list of questions that they believed would be on the test, they should write down the answers as well. On Day 1, (or the day of the test), students could do some last minute review by going over the notes they had written from Day 2. A student can do their final review while eating breakfast, driving to school, or eating lunch.

“Just before the test, go over any information you are having difficulty remembering,” Mastron said, “While you’re taking the test, remember to remain calm and breath.”

Students must repeat the Five Day Preparation Plan for every test or exam they take.

AUHS is a private, for-profit, minority owned, minority serving, Christian-based university whose mission is to educate and equip students with life careers and to produce quality health care professionals for the community, the nation, and the world. It is a university where appreciation of life and one’s spiritual reason for existence can be nurtured.  AUHS offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) and a Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR). To request more information, email or call (562) 988-2278. For the latest news, pictures and videos of American University of Health Sciences’ events, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AUHS_Campus and Instagram @auhsedu.