Often the stress we feel when we are about to take a test - whether for school or a job, is the stress we put on ourselves. If you are prepared, and know the material as well as you can, you have all you need to do well, so why are you putting roadblocks up for yourself?

I have a friend who told me that every time she had to take a test, where the outcome was important, she would froze up and couldn’t remember anything even though she was well prepared before the test. She also said, if the test outcome didn’t matter, she could ace them with flying colors. What does that tell you? That she looked at the outcome as important, and allowed that to put pressure on herself to do well. If she had just looked at all the tests the same way, with confidence that she was prepared and would do well, tests never would have been a problem.

Memory is just as much about learning to relax and be self-assured as it is about getting information to stick in your head. Stress puts blocks up that make it difficult for information to pass in or out.

The first thing I want you to learn is to calm down and take deep breathes. If you know the material when you go in, and take advantage of the memory tips I am going to give below, you will sail through the test with flying colors.

Next in importance for successful test-taking is to be prepared. Being ready will give you the confidence you will need to go in assured you can do it. NOTE: No one has ever waited until the night before the test to study and been able to do a good job. Forget what you have learned about cramming - you should have been preparing and memorizing all along. Studying is an ongoing process, and in order to remember what you learn you will need to go over it again and again.

No matter whether you are prepping for a small quiz or the SAT, the basic rules are the same:
• Pay attention in class, and read the material more than once
• Take good notes and refer to them often
• Eat a good meal prior to the test, and make sure you have plenty of protein (no sugary snacks); get a good night’s sleep and exercise (deep breathing if nothing else)
• Take advantage of any memory aids available

Here are five additional memory tips that should help you be totally prepared for any test:

1. Find ways to relate to the material. If you are not able to find something you are familiar with in the material you will not be able to understand it. Find common ground between what you are learning and what you already have stored in your memory. This will dramatically increase your chances of retaining the new material.
2. Use Visualization. Most people are visual learners, which means they learn better by seeing a photo, chart or other graphics to help them understand and retain what they have learned. If you don’t have visual cues available to help you, make your own - draw charts; write in the margin of your book (if you own the book) or in a notebook; use highlighters in different colors to group related ideas together. These tools will imprint the image of the material in your mind.
3. If you can teach it you have to understand it. Teach someone else what you are learning. There has been research to show that by working with someone else – by reading material out loud or bouncing questions off each other, it helps to improve memory and solidify the information in your head.
4. Spend more time on difficult information. When you come across a concept that seems especially difficult to understand, spend extra time trying to get familiar with it. If you still don’t get it, ask someone who does to explain it to you. After you get it, put it into your own words so you can remember it easier.
5. Change your study routine. By moving around and changing the place you study, or the subject you are studying, you won’t get bored. Adding novelty to your routine keeps it fresh and increases the effectiveness. When it starts to get monotonous you will start to doze off and lose what you are trying to remember. If you are used to studying in your room, take your work outside and get some fresh air. If you usually study in the evening, take some time in the morning to review.

By following these simple suggestions you should have no problems retaining what you learned, and do well on any test.

Author's Bio: 

About the author:
Ron White is a two-time USA Memory Champion, memory expert, and memory speaker. He speaks at seminars and to large groups all over the world on how to improve memory and memory techniques. Click to check out his memory improvement products.