If the thought of taking an exam (whether it’s at school or for a professional license) makes you break out in a cold sweat and start imagining worst-case scenarios, don’t worry. The trick is to learn how to manage test anxiety so when it comes time to perform, you can excel. Today, we’ll go over the best practices for beating test anxiety so you can ace the test on exam day.
The science behind test anxiety
Test anxiety is quite common and is a perfectly normal reaction to the stress you feel about the test, according to VeryWellMind. Behind the test anxiety, you’ll find biological and mental causes.
Biologically, your body reacts to stressful situations. When you’re stressed, it releases a hormone called adrenaline to help the body prepare to stay and deal with the situation or to escape. For some people, this response makes it nearly impossible to focus on the test, especially because it can cause nausea, trembling and sweating.
In addition to the biological affects, mental factors can also contribute to test anxiety. Often, you have an expectation for yourself, and if that expectation is poor, you’re more likely to feel anxious about the exam. Another mental factor is endurance. As you continue to take tests, you continue to feel anxiety. This can cause even more anxiety test after test.
Things you can do to treat exam anxiety
Test anxiety may be intimidating, but it’s not insurmountable. Here are a few helpful tips to overcome it before the test:
- Prepare for your test early. Feeling unprepared on test day is a major factor in testing anxiety. So, start studying early and take practice tests often to boost your confidence.
- Learn test-taking skills. According to Willamette University, there are tricks to taking tests and it’s best to learn them. Different approaches are required when taking multiple-choice or essay tests, and knowing those techniques may help eliminate some anxiety.
- Don’t let your score define you. Try not to measure your self-worth by your exam grade or your grade point average. Realizing that it’s just a test can empower you to relax and achieve a better score.
What you can do on test day to avoid exam anxiety
When the day arrives, it’s important to approach your test with the techniques that work best for you. According to Willamette University, some things that can help you relieve stress and anxiety are:
- Avoiding caffeine. Caffeine adds to stress, so stick to drinking water if you can.
- Eating snacks rather than meals. If you eat a heavy meal before your test, your digestive system will be breaking down the food with the oxygen-rich blood your brain needs to focus and recall information during the test.
- Being positive. Set high expectations and believe in yourself. You can do it!
- Avoiding distractions. Don’t worry about your testing neighbor who writes twice as fast. Relax and focus on your exam. It’s OK to take your time and go at your own pace.
- Taking breaks. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a break. Close your eyes, breathe and relax. Clear your mind whenever you can.
Now that you know how to keep your cool and beat exam anxiety, you’re ready to take your test and show it no mercy. To learn more about how to reduce exam anxiety or for more study tips, reach out to the experts at Securities Training Corporation