Getting nervous before a test is normal. A lot of people find that a little nervousness helps them keep their mind focused on the test. However, for others, their anxieties and worries get the better of them, and as a result, they are unable to perform as well as they know they could. For many students, managing anxiety might seem like an impossible task.
According to the American Test Anxieties Association, students experiencing test anxiety “freeze” or “blank” during exams, reducing their cognitive abilities such as reasoning and memory. In addition, according to licensed psychologist Craig N. Sawchuck, everyone can be affected by test anxiety, be they students or professionals taking certification exams or tests for career advancement.
If you find yourself getting anxious with even just the thought of taking an exam, don’t fret. Here are some strategies you can do to help you manage anxiety and overcome this hurdle before and after a test.
Take Practice Tests
According to Brown University, one possible reason for test anxieties is the thought that you are not ready for the test. This can be answered by proper time management and preparation before the test.
One test preparation technique is taking practice tests. Simulating a test with the same testing conditions you will experience during the exam can help you get used to taking tests and build confidence.
You can take a practice test in a quiet place without distractions and set a time limit. There are plenty of practice tests you can check out online, and most of these have the same format as the actual test. You can take as many practice tests as you like – this will make you more comfortable and less anxious when it’s time to take the actual test.
Take Care of Yourself
One thing that many test-takers forget when they study and review is to take care of themselves. Follow these tips to stay in good physical and mental condition.
- Take breaks. According to psychologists, continuous work without breaks can do more harm than good. Studying is important; however, during the in-betweens, one’s brain should also take a rest to recharge and retain the information from all that studying, resulting in more productivity.
- Get some exercise or do some stretching and breathing exercises. These will help you relax and release the tension in your body.
- Eat well. Go easy on the sugar, lessen your caffeine intake, and eat protein-rich snacks such as nuts, eggs, and yogurt. Some types of food can actually help in retaining information and increasing your energy while studying.
- Drink plenty of water. When studying for exams, it’s important to hydrate yourself and to lessen fatigue. Dehydration may cause you to be forgetful and sluggish, so always keep a refreshing glass or tumbler of water nearby.
Don’t cram! Study early and pace yourself. This can help in managing anxiety because it can lessen the fear of not being able to do enough studying before the test. Giving yourself enough time to go through the different subject areas can also make you feel more confident.
Tips for Exam Day
The day of a test is usually when one’s anxiety is at its peak. Here are some tips to lessen the feeling of unease.
Go to the test site early to familiarize yourself with the area and to make yourself comfortable. Walk or stretch – moving your body can help you loosen up and reduce stress before taking your test. Do some breathing or meditation exercises. Try to avoid talking with others as their anxieties may also increase your own.
Remind yourself of past wins while taking the test. When you catch yourself starting to have negative thoughts, breathe deeply and remind yourself of the small but significant successes that have brought you this far.
We hope those tips help you in managing anxiety and give you the confidence to do your best in your exam. For more test-taking tips and strategies, browse through our other articles here on MSM Unify.