It’s completely normal to be nervous before a test. Even if you’re confident in the subject matter, it’s natural to fear the unknown.
The problem is that sometimes anxiety can affect your performance, creating a self-perpetuating cycle. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome those negative emotions so you can consistently perform at your highest capacity.
Here are six easy and effective tips to help you alleviate test anxiety:
1. Be Prepared
This one should go without saying, but the most effective way to eliminate pre-test nervousness is to be confident in the subject matter. Accomplishing that is often easier said than done, however.
How you study directly affects how prepared you are for the test. In fact, often the students with the highest grades aren’t the ones who are most knowledgeable, but the ones who have the best study habits.
Don’t try to cram a week’s worth of knowledge into one night. Give yourself plenty of breathing room so you’re not stressing out the day before the test. You’re better off studying for a half hour every night for a week than studying for three hours the night before.
2. Study with Other People
Sometimes just knowing that other people are in the same boat can drastically alleviate test anxiety. Plus, studying with other people is just more fun. Humans are social creatures, and interacting with others helps to provide unique perspectives and insight into the subject matter.
In today’s digital world, you don’t even need to meet around a table to reap the benefits of social studying. There are plenty of online avenues that allow you to study collaboratively without ever leaving your bedroom or the school library.
One fantastic way to study with other people is to create mock quizzes with your classmates. All you need is a good online exam software, and you can make and take practice tests for each other. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to meet it head-on, and working on a dry run really helps you to feel more confident when the real test is happening.
3. Believe In Yourself
Sometimes your biggest obstacle is your own self-doubt. Remind yourself of past successes. Look back at those countless tests you’ve aced over the years. Visualize yourself checking your grades with a smile. Do whatever it takes to convince yourself that you have what it takes to not only pass, but pass with flying colors.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Both your physical and your mental health play a major role in your test-taking abilities. In the days leading up to the test, eat healthy foods. Get a good night’s rest each night, and make sure you follow a consistent sleep schedule. Avoid activities that leave you feeling under the weather. On the day of the test, eat a balanced meal and bring a snack so you’re not hungry during the test.
5. Identify the Root of Your Fear
If you want to overcome your anxiety, you need to know why it’s happening in the first place. Here are some of the common reasons why you may be feeling this way:
- 1. You did poorly on a recent test
- 2.You’re not confident in your knowledge of the subject
- 3. You’re nervous about the long-term effects that could be caused by the outcome
- 4. You’re not confident in your test-taking abilities
Once you understand what’s causing the anxiety, replace those thoughts with positive solutions:
- 1. You did poorly in the past, but now is your chance to make a change
- 2. You’re not confident in your knowledge, but you’re going to do your best regardless
- 3. One test is not likely to ruin your future. An important test may have a minor effect on your future plans, but there will always be new opportunities to pursue.
- 4. You’re just as capable of taking tests as anyone else. The rest of the class struggles with self-doubt too.
6. Remember the Big Picture
Yes, some tests are important. However, one botched test is not going to do irreparable damage. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you will find a way to make it happen. Even the most successful people in the world have failed tests and dealt with testing anxiety. It’s part of life.
Focus on the test, but try not to let intrusive thoughts make you believe that it’s a bigger deal than it actually is. Education is a long and ongoing process, and this is only one step on your grand journey. Believe in yourself, and the rest will come naturally.