Feeling nervous before a test is normal. You don’t know exactly what questions will be asked, or how you will do. Many people calm down once the exam starts and they see the material. But when you are too anxious and have a hard time quieting your mind, it can affect your performance and your ability to show your best work. Even when you know the answers, it can be difficult to focus.

Implementing strategies for managing test anxiety can help you feel calmer and more in control come test day. Figure out what works best for you.

Before the Exam

When you find out that you have an exam coming up, begin creating a study plan. Starting early allows you to review material thoroughly and commit more information to memory. You can spend more time on topics you find difficult rather than studying things you already know. Getting a head start can also prevent you from feeling the need to cram the night before. By the time test day arrives, you can feel prepared.

Set expectations for yourself as well. Remind yourself that it is okay if you do not get a perfect score. Even if you miss a few answers, you can still earn a good grade. Aiming high can be motivating, but in some cases, it can also put unnecessary stress on you if that is all you are focused on.

Get a good night’s sleep starting several days before the test so you are well-rested. Give your brain and body a chance to relax and recharge. Showing up to the exam exhausted can increase the amount of stress you feel and keep you from thinking clearly.

The Day of the Exam

Start off by fueling your body up with a nutritious and filling breakfast. Eat a combination of complex carbs, lean protein, and fiber. Don’t forget to drink some water as well.

Avoid the temptation to cram right before the test. Remind yourself that you are prepared, and you know what you know. Stressing yourself out trying to get in those last few facts likely won’t help. Whenever you feel your nerves kicking in, repeat a positive mantra to yourself such as, “I can do this,” “I will do my best,” or “I am prepared.”

Remember to read each question carefully so you know what you are trying to answer. If a question is too hard, skip it and come back later. Boost your confidence by answering the questions you do know, then going back and working on the ones that are more difficult. That way, you won’t miss out on points for easy questions you knew but didn’t get to because you were stuck on a harder problem.

Keep your anxiety in check by taking a pause for a few deep breaths. Sit up straight, relax your shoulders, and breathe in and out. Focus on your work rather than looking around to see if others are finished or what they are doing.

Boost Your Test-Taking Skills

A lot of students do well in class but have trouble on the exam. Crafting Scholars can work with you to develop effective study skills and test-taking strategies to help you feel less anxious. We create a personalized plan aligned with your needs and learning style. Contact us today to get started!