For many test takers, especially those who haven’t taken tests for a while, pre-test jitters can ensue, ensnare, and overwhelm to sabotage the test-taking moment. This can happen whether someone studies with myopic rabid intensity or is engaged at a reasonable pace. Ask most people, and they have at one time or another been nervous, with statistics pointing to more than 12% being completely paralyzed by anxiety. Obviously, this is not optimal.
If you’re feeling a little ill at ease, you can set yourself up for success by employing some simple but potent practices and life style choices, namely, engaging in self-care. There are different options available, and each will have varying outcomes for each test taker, but try these strategies in the weeks up to minutes leading up to your test. And be creative: if there is something else you find helps you to be the best test-taker: do it.
What Helps Reduce Test Anxiety?
- Enough Sleep – for some people this is 6 hours; others, 10. Whatever length of time you need to perform your best, plan on getting it. Every night. Most important is that you get enough sleep the night-before, the night before the test.
- Good Food – Students who prepare their own meals may find that time is diminished with an intense study regime. There are now ample delivery options to make it easier and quicker to consume healthier foods: produce boxes, grocery deliveries, apps for ready-to-eat meals, and packages of pre-measured fresh ingredients for you to assemble. Make sure you get in plenty of veggies and fruits, organic and/or local when possible. And read labels, but aim to make the majority of your foods non-packaged and unprocessed.
- Socializing and Non-Study Activities – While it may seem counter productive to spend time with friends and family, as well as doing anything not test related, your mind will process better when it has time to integrate information. Do things you love or that ignite your curiosity. Spend time with friends. Laugh hard. And engage in a passion, downtime or both, at least some of the time.
- Rewards – Who doesn’t like a bonus? Once you reach a goal, be it score-wise or time-wise, give yourself a bonus. Set out a rewards program ahead of time. It can include material objects or pampering: mani-pedis, massage, a night out on the town (theater/dinner). Be good to YOU. We also tell students to have a huge reward if you end up meeting your end goal: foreign travel, an extravagant gift, a weekend away. We even tell students to see if there is anything good for last minute travel on travelzoo.com and for more tips on last minute travel, go to the techlicious article, here.
- Support Systems – For some, this could be alone time, a massage or a weekly trip to the acupuncturist; for others, connecting with a good friend, therapy, or family dinners. Whatever is going to help you feel connected, energized, and grounded, we advise that you do it.
- Relaxation Techniques – There are literally thousands of calming methods you can employ prior to an exam to help you into the zone. We recommend you explore breathing techniques, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, Emotional Freedom Technique, Reiki, Sound Therapy, mindfulness…and more. Read our Full Potential Manual, published by Nova Press if you want specific exercises and the lowdown on how each of these work or listen to some tracks on our Full Potential Audio. Then get to work.
Or rather, chill, so you can work effectively and efficiently, and manifest your best score. Don’t delay; start now.
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