Coping with Exam Stress
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Coping with Exam Stress

You walk into the exam room and before you even pick up your pencil, your hands start sweating, you have butterflies in your stomach, your mind goes blank, and your eyes are about to pop out of your head due to a lack of sleep and an overdose of Redbull. While writing the exam, you look up to check the remaining exam time and start to panic after realizing there’s no way you can finish the exam on time. Double checking your work is the last thing on your mind at this moment. Feeling stressed? Don’t be!

Here are some ways the Police Training system can help you to cope with exam stress and time management.

Planning a Time Strategy

  • Before attempting any practice tests, look carefully at how many questions are included and the total time allowed for writing the test.
  • Allocate at least 10% of the total exam time to be spent on double checking your answers.
  • Take the total exam time minus the 10% double-check time, and divide it by the # of questions to find out the average time that should be spent on each question.
  • For example: A standard PATI test takes approximately 90 minutes. This means that 10% of the total time or 9 minutes should be allocated to double check your work, leaving 81 minutes to write the actual exam. If there are 90 questions in total, then you should spend an average of 54 seconds on each question to ensure you are progressing on time.

Measuring Your Performance

  • Keep in mind the time allocation for each question while writing the Police Ready practice tests.
  • Hide the timer on the upper right hand corner when answering test questions to keep yourself from being distracted or feeling any unnecessary pressure.
  • Decide on a set interval for yourself to unhide the timer and pause it to measure your time progression. The purpose is to train yourself not to spend too much time on a difficult question, and also to make it a habit to check your time progression occasionally. If you find yourself a little behind time, then you can gradually increase the pace in answering the questions rather than having to rush your answers near the end of the exam.

Essentially, having a time strategy along with adequate practice will help any examinees to remain calm throughout the exam. The best way to approach writing an exam is to be systematic when you answer each question. With the Police Ready system, it is designed so only one question is displayed at any given time, so you are always focused only on one question at a time. It is set up like this also to get rid of any bad superstitious habit of looking for patterns in the answers. This way, you are less likely to notice that you have produced four C’s in a row, which realistically does not suggest anything of value.

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