Has it been a while since you have taken an exam? Do exams make you nervous or anxious? Prepping for and taking exams can stir up all kinds of feelings and emotions for some of us. I know that I get anxious when I have a test on the horizon. I just recently took my First-Degree Black Belt test in Taekwondo and my nerves were on fire the entire week before the test. I was constantly playing it out in my mind and losing sleep over it at times. It is a big test and I needed to be on my game that night. So, I had a few tricks up my sleeve to calm my nerves and focus on the task at hand.
First off, I had to think more positive and remind myself that I have trained for this test for two years and that I know my stuff like the back of my hand. Just like any test, practical or written, you need to be focused. Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself that you are prepared. Get in the zone and remember this is only a test and it is just a blip on the radar. It will be over before you know it. Just like my 3-part taekwondo test. It starts and you think it will take forever and then it’s over. I had to watch the video just to remember what happened. I honestly was so focused that I forgot there were judges, an audience and my fellow classmates there watching. Talk about being in the zone or outer space, I’m not sure which one yet.
Try and find some time to relax before you take an exam. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Take a nap, read a book, meet up with a friend. Just some options but truly find some quite time to settle your mind before you take any exam.
I know I always doubt myself on how prepared I am for a test. Did I review enough? Were the notes I took sufficient? All of these questions are probably sounding familiar to you if you have test anxiety. I know we could go back over all the material one last time, but does it really help or does it add to our stress right before the exam? Study the days leading up to the exam, but not on exam day. Trust me, your brain will thank you. We can only hold so much in there and trying to cram right before just pushes some of the really important stuff right on out.
Seems simple enough to say, “get a good night’s sleep,” the night before a big event, but I know it is not that simple. We toss and turn and cannot shut our brains off. I always have about 100 tabs open at all times and when my head hits that pillow it’s like an explosion of brain activity, when just 5 minutes ago I was so sleepy that I could hardly get up the stairs. Reading has always helped me to take my mind off what is swirling around in my head right before I go to bed. I don’t read study material or work stuff, but something that is fun and light hearted. Do whatever quiets your mind and allows you to get some rest.
Nothing worse than a growling stomach in a quiet room, right? Eat….Eat….Eat!! I am one who tends to get so nervous that I can’t eat, but I make myself have something. Even a little snack will do the trick. If you are hungry during your test you are going to be distracted, and so might your neighbors.
Let’s break it down….
- Think positive. Negative thoughts lead to negative outcomes.
- Give yourself a pep talk and remember you are prepared for this.
- Take some time to just relax, whatever that looks like for you.
- Never study on the day of the exam. You got this!
- Get some sleep. Harder than it sounds, I know. This goes back to the relax part, read a book, exercise, or whatever puts your mind to sleep.
- Do not go to your test hungry, trust me on this. Even a small snack will do the trick.
There are so many tips and tricks for dealing with test anxiety and any number of them will work, you just need to find what works for you. Try a few and see what happens the next time you have a test coming up. Maybe there is something that works for you that no one has thought of yet. Please feel free to share your tips with us and our community.
Author: Mandi Kanikula
Mandee’s love for creating things has led her to a passion for writing, social media, public relations and design. As a consultant with Socially Inspired, Mandee focuses on helping businesses succeed through written and verbal communication. Currently, she is adding to her professional skill set by studying for the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification.
You can learn more about Mandee by connecting on LinkedIn.