WRITTEN TEST ANXIETY
A problem that
many fire applicants are having that is causing a stumbling block in their
pursuit of becoming a firefighter is test anxiety. Many applicants have
completely prepared themselves for the examination only to be overcome with test
anxiety when they walk into the room. This can be dealt with and brought under
control. A small level of adrenalin at the beginning of the exam will keep your
mind sharp. The problem occurs when the adrenalin and anxiety are too high,
preventing you from concentrating and doing your best in the examination
What can you do to help control test anxiety?
First and foremost, be well prepared for the exam. Nothing gives you more
confidence than knowing you are adequately prepared for the exam. Remember
that it is better to have a little anxiety and be well prepared than to have no
preparation and no test anxiety.
Weeks before the actual exam, visualize yourself walking into the exam, sitting
down, and getting ready for the exam. For many applicants, this initial start
of the exam causes the greatest anxiety. This first 15-20 minutes of the exam
is valuable time that you don't want to waste. You may need it at the end of
the exam to go over questions you weren't sure of.
While you are sitting and waiting for the exam to begin, take deep breaths to
relax yourself. Visualize yourself scoring well on the examination.
As you anticipate the exam, think positive. Tell yourself that you are prepared
and ready and that you have confidence in your abilities. Try not to put any
negative thoughts in your mind such as, "I've never taken this type of exam
before." Reverse the negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones: "This
will be great practice for this type of examination; I will just do my best."
Focus on the exam and not the people around you. Keep telling yourself, "I am
going to do better on this exam than anyone else here." Tell yourself confident
messages. Don't waste your time worrying about the consequences of not doing
well on the exam.
Take deep breaths to relax yourself. If you feel overcome by anxiety during the
test, put your pencil down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. It
only takes 30-40 seconds. Inhale and exhale deeply. Don't worry about the
people around you. Your goal that day is to do the best you can – if you need
to relax and refocus, do it.
The day before
the exam, eat a good meal that is high in carbohydrates, such as pasta. On exam
day, you will be nervous and your anxiety will use up needed energy. Be sure to
get a good night's sleep. Have someone call you to make sure you don't oversleep
the morning of the exam.
If you have a friend who is also taking the exam, follow each other. If your
car should break down on the way, you could ride along with your friend and
still arrive for the exam on time.
Be sure to
allow yourself enough travel time to allow for traffic jams. Nothing will cause
more anxiety than arriving for the exam 2-3 minutes late
GOOD LUCK !!!!
Don McNea Fire School The top program in getting ready for the written test is the
Encyclopedia of Firefighter
Examinations from Don McNea Fire School. You
can find out more about this program and take a sample
written test here
counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter
Ask "Captain Bob" Any
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