My students tend to get stressed when it’s quiz or test time.
I want to tell them not to worry so much, so I think I will do just that:
It’s just a piece of paper. No piece of paper will ever be as important as YOU are. Relax. Breathe deeply. Stand up and stretch when you feel the need. Go get a coke out of the machine, and maybe a Snickers bar, too. Chocolate won’t hurt your test; I’ll be grading it myself and unless it’s so soiled I can’t read it, who cares?
Sometimes a little sugar might be just the energy boost you need. Get up and walk around the parking lot for a few minutes; clear your head. Look at the trees behind the college. Watch the squirrels. When you come back inside, take a few deep breaths, pick up your pencil and begin again.
Read carefully; you KNOW these things. I know you do. I’ve heard you talk about these topics for a month now and you KNOW them. Don’t let your fear of the test itself overcome the knowledge in your head. Don’t let a piece of paper take you down. USE the piece of paper to prove your knowledge of these things. Let the piece of paper encourage you to express what you know. You are the boss of this piece of paper. This piece of paper cannot defeat you. This piece of paper WANTS you to master it. You can.
Inside your head, where dwells your actual self, is a universe of wonder. You’ve got what it takes to succeed in life. You can do it. The piece of paper is just you showing me that you understand little increments of cool stuff, one sheet at a time.
Is this registering with you, students? Don’t let the dread of a quiz or test get between you and that piece of paper. And remember this, because it’s very important: a test itself is never as awful as the dread of it beforehand.
I’ve heard many of you saying this already: “That quiz wasn’t hard at all!” Well, guess what: it was supposed to be hard. The reason why you didn’t think so is that you KNOW THIS STUFF.
Yes, you do. Shut up.