Tests may be the most unpopular part of academic life. Students hate them because they produce fear and anxiety about being evaluated, and focus on grades instead of learning for learning's sake. But tests are also valuable. A well-constructed test identifies what you know and what you still need to learn. Tests help you see how your performance compares to that of others. And knowing that you'll be tested on a body of material is certainly likely to motivate you to learn the material more thoroughly. However, there's another reason you might dislike tests. You may assume that tests have the power to define your worth as a person. If you do badly on a test, you may be tempted to believe that you received some fundamental information about yourself from the professor --- information that says you are a failure in some significant way. This is a dangerous and wrong-headed assumption. If you do badly on a test, it doesn't mean you are a bad person or stupid or that you'll never do better again and that your life is ruined. If you don't do well on a test, you're the same person you were before you took the test. No better, no worse. You just did badly on a test. That's it! In short, tests are not a measure of your value as an individual. They're a measure only of how well and how much you studied. Tests are tools. They're indirect and imperfect measures of what we know.