If you are a student, it is absolutely normal to experience waves of nervousness before an examination. These fears can be exacerbated due to internal or external pressures. Experiencing overwhelming heaps of anxiety and stress can be physically and emotionally taxing. This can then cause increased difficulty in performing to the best-of-your-ability during the assessment. As such, here are some steps to take to reduce these overhauling feelings and enhance your performance during tests.
Prepare Ahead of Time
One of the biggest causes of test anxiety is lack of preparation. Procrastination can exacerbate feelings of guilt, in turn making you feel more stressed. Constantly cramming can inaugurate a cycle of health problems, both mental and physical. You can mitigate procrastination by creating schedules for yourself and breaking up the stuff you need to study into multiple days.
It is of utmost importance to get a proper night's sleep every night to ensure proper-functioning of your brain. Sleep allows your body to charge and will boost brain power. If you do not get the adequate amount of sleep, you may feel groggy and fatigued which can lessen your focus on the task at hand. Exercising for a few minutes a day and limiting use of digital technologies before sleeping are ways to get your needed sleep.
Eat Well-Balanced Food
Make sure that you have eaten before the exam since food is fuel. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day as it will provide a kick-start to your morning. Consume healthy and nutritious food that is healthy for the brain and will boost your energy. Eating a heart-healthy breakfast has also been to decrease risks of diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Make sure that you are sufficiently hydrating yourself. Water can help to calm your body and overall improve your mental wellbeing. Dehydration is linked to anxiety and stress.
Take Deep Breaths
On the day of your exam, take a moment to calm yourself down by practicing deep breathing. This will allow your body to relax and calm the nervous system. Your blood pressure will go down, as well as your heart rate.
Reframe any negative thoughts you may have into positive ones. Focus on strengths, rather than your weaknesses. This will allow you to control your fears and boost your confidence. Here are some ways you can reframe your inner thoughts:
“I’m so bad at this” → “I performed to the best of my ability”
“I probably got so many questions wrong” → “I’m proud of the questions I was able to answer”
“I’m dumb” → “I’m intelligent”
Make sure to practice self-care both before and after your examination. Make time for yourself, whether it be doing your favorite hobby, watching your favorite show, or having a spa day. Self-care should be ingrained into your day-to-day life. Self-compassion is important in helping to boost your confidence and letting yourself shine. Remember, you grade does not define you.