While feeling a little nervous before a test is completely normal, some students experience debilitating test anxiety. Inability to concentrate, light-headedness and racing thoughts combined with a headache, heartache or nausea are all signs of anxiety. The worst part is that the feeling of self-doubt and worry that accompanies test anxiety can interfere with your performance in the test and make you feel miserable.
Studies show that test anxiety can be caused by lack of adequate prep time, a fear of failure, or prior bad experiences while taking tests. Just know that you’re not alone.
Here are some tips to help you cope:
While this seems obvious, it bears repeating. Ensuring you’re well-prepared for the test can put your mind at ease when the D-day arrives. Preparing for the test strategically, and familiarizing yourself with the similar type of questions beforehand, can give you the extra boost you need to feel calm and collected.
Remember, cramming for a test does more harm than good; so always give yourself ample time to prepare for the exam without feeling rushed.
- Join a study group.
- Ask friends who are planning to give the same test for study advice.
- Look for comprehensive study resources and workshops.
- Make use of study techniques like note taking, flashcards and practice tests.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Staying Healthy
When faced with daunting tests, people often start neglecting their physical health; don’t fall in this trap!
Good nutrition, regular exercise, and most importantly, adequate sleep, are all foundational components of a lifestyle that keeps stress at bay. A healthy body equals a healthy mind—with strong academic performance.
Moreover, make use of relaxation strategies like guided imagery and deep breathing in the days leading up to the tests. Avoid excess caffeine and make sure you eat an adequate breakfast on the day of the test.
Arrive Early For the Test
Nothing heightens anxiety like the feeling of rushing to reach the exam hall. Make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes early. If waiting for the test makes you nervous, keep your mind occupied with a diversion, like a magazine.
During the test, try to maintain focus as best as you can. If you find yourself spiralling, stop, and regroup. Take deep breaths, sharpen your pencil—anything that diverts your thoughts.
Moreover, make sure to pace yourself during the rest. Read directions twice before you start, and go for the easy questions first.
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