Average student feels at least some level of anxiety before an important exam. But for some individuals, that stress can be severe. As schools administer an increasing number of standardized also high-stakes college admissions tests, it is important to learn how to combat that anxiety. Following five strategies can help you overcome exam-related stress.
Close your eyes also take three deep breaths. Pause a moment after inhaling, long enough to mark change from in two out. Then exhale evenly also fully before beginning again.
Breathing may sound too easy to be useful, but deliberately expanding your chest to take a deep breath relaxes your muscles also encourages them to work normally again. As a bonus, increased flow of oxygen helps energize your brain. Best of all, this technique takes only a moment, so use it just before your test begins or during a particularly difficult section.
This technique worked for me when defending a doctoral dissertation in microbiology. Standing in front of committee of professors could barely squeak, let alone try for eloquence.
2. Set aside time for yourself:
You may feel tremendous pressure to dedicate every waking moment to studying, but it is still important to allot part of your schedule to resting also reconnecting with people you love. Go on a walk to enjoy fresh air, eat dinner with your family, play with your pets or brew a cup of tea.
This is not permission to procrastinate. Research shows that your brain requires time to integrate knowledge. If you never slow flow of information, your mind becomes saturated at a faster rate than you can store new data. Downtime is a prescription for becoming more focused also capable, when used in moderation. Set a timer if you must, but do not neglect your joy, especially while preparing for an important exam.
Multiple studies have proved that physical exercise is a remarkably effective antidote to stress. Like breathing exercises outlined above, exercise prompts you to focus on your body rather than your worries. Many students carry their stress in their bodies also exercise moves your muscles, increases blood flow also works out a good percentage of body knots. When you return to studying, your focus will be much improved.
most useful side effect of increased blood flow is increased circulation that extends well beyond end of your exercise session. Blood carries oxygen also your brain must have oxygen to work properly while you review. Nothing will decrease your test stress faster than realizing that you are learning also making progress.
There is a persistent also damaging myth that pulling an all-nighter indicates your seriousness when preparing for an exam. In truth, studying all evening is worst possible response to anxiety. Not only is it nearly impossible to remember material read at 3 a.m., but a lack of sleep clouds your mind next day also perhaps into week beyond.
Worse, fatigue damages your resilience. Stress is hard on your body. Breathing exercises, downtime also exercise can alleviate effects of anxiety, but none of them will be as effective as sleep. Sleep is how short-term memories formed while studying become long-term memories that can be recalled during test-taking.
5. Take control of your preparation:
Too often, academic stress comes from feeling a lack of control over situation. While other people will be writing test questions also grading your answers, you have power to prepare. Creating a schedule with concrete goals will give you a sense of progression as you complete required tasks before big day. For example, one of my students came to me after struggling with preparation for verbal section of an exam. I gave her goal of memorizing a list of 500 vocabulary words over course of two months.
It sounded like an intimidating also ambitious goal, but when broken down into pieces, she realized that 10 words per day was a very achievable task. Even when she struggles with other parts of test preparation, she can look to her growing stack of index cards as tangible proof of her progress. At times, stress is unavoidable, especially when preparing for major exams. A little stress is a strong motivator, but a lot of stress is harmful also hurts your performance. Use techniques outlined above to keep your balance.