You’re not alone. Test anxiety is perfectly normal. However, exam anxiety stops being a normal occurrence once it starts to affect your academic performance. Suddenly, all those hours of hard work you’ve put into preparing yourself for an important are in jeopardy of going to waste, because your level of stress prevents you from making the most of what you’ve learned.
This affects your grades and academic success, meaning you aren’t being awarded for how much you know. We can help by sharing with you 10 tips on what to do before, during, and after the exam to stay calm and perform to the best of your abilities.
Get an Early Start
One of the main reasons why students get increasingly anxious as the exams get closer, is because they’ve started studying late, and now they have a whole bunch of study materials to get through. By the time they have to take the test, they are a nervous wreck. In order to be more confident of your knowledge, pay attention in class from day one and plan ahead so that you have enough to absorb everything you need to know.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep disorders are one on the major sources of anxiety, which is why you need to make sure you get plenty of it. Once you put in 8 hours of sleep every night, you will be well-rested and your brain will be fully capable of accepting that seemingly endless stream of numbers and facts. While it may seem like you’ll learn more by burning the midnight oil, it’s better to rest and get up early tomorrow.
Get Everything Else Done before You Start Studying
Get all your chores done before you devote yourself to cramming for the test. Also, if you are behind on your schoolwork, deal with it as soon as possible. There are lots of freshman tips, which can help you turn in all of your written assignments and essays on time and maintain a normal social life so that you have plenty of time left to study for an exam.
Breaking up your studying time into smaller chunks will help you stay focused throughout the entire process. We recommend 45-minute or hour-long studying intervals to keep your mind sharp, followed by short 10 to 15-minute breaks. Your classes are modeled on the same principle. Use that to your advantage.
Avoid Anxious Colleagues
This doesn’t mean you should stop hanging out with your friends, but if some of them are anxious when it comes to exams, and they vocalize that anxiety all the time, a little of it will creep inside your head, as well. In order to avoid that, study alone or with someone who’s positive that you will succeed.
This one is important for two reasons. First of all, you need to supply your body and your mind with enough nutrition and energy so that it’s able to carry out consuming physical and intellectual tasks. Second of all, it is important to eat several hours before the test, in order to supply your brain with fuel. Avoid eating right before the exam, though, because all the oxygen will go right to your stomach, instead of your brain.
Take a Moment and Breathe
During the test, if you feel like you’re about to panic, or draw a blank, take a second and stop writing. Take several deep breaths and relax. You should only continue once you start feeling better.
Don’t Get Stuck on That One Question
If your mind draws a blank on a certain question, don’t get bogged down on it. Skip ahead to the next one that you know the answer to. This will help you save time and get over the potential block. In all likelihood, you will be able to go back and answer it in a timely manner, instead of getting stuck with it.
Focus on Yourself
There is nothing worse than looking over to the student sitting next to you and seeing them write as if they have all the answers. First of all, you don’t know if anything they are writing is correct. Second of all, they might just be doodling or writing haiku. You should focus only on yourself and the paper in front of you, not other people.
After the test, you’ve earned your right to relax and indulge a little. It might be your favorite meal, a movie, or simply binging on your favorite TV shows. This way, you will have something special to look forward to after each of your exams.
While a certain amount of tension before the exam will help you stay sharp, too much of it can affect your cognitive abilities and your concentration. Follow these 10 simple tips, and say goodbye to anxiety attacks and poor test results today!
written by Linda Craig
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