How to Reduce Exam Stress?
All of us experience some amount of nervousness before an upcoming test. While for some it acts as a performance booster, for others it ends up in physical discomfort. Experiencing heightened feelings of fright and anxiety before an exam/test is known as Test Anxiety. A kind of performance anxiety, Test Anxiety can be fuelled by the fear of failure, a sense of uncertainty about the future and multiple other factors. In fact, if not managed well, it can interfere with your potential to perform. However, there are several ways in which you can train yourself to respond to your Test Anxiety in a positive manner. We share some of these below, and hope that they support you in directing your anxiety such that it helps rather than hampers your performance.
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1. Practice and Prepare Ahead
If you know that you commonly experience test anxiety, you could try to prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming test by taking a timed Mock Test the night before. Packing up your bag, reaching the test site early etc are other ways in which you can prepare in advance to calm your Test Anxiety.
2. Be well-rested
Get a good night’s sleep before your test. It is essential to be adequately rested before attempting any challenging task. Lack of sleep/rest not only interferes with your mental processing ability but also heightens your gullibility to stress and anxiety.
3. Eat healthy on D-Day
Certain food items can help you control your anxiety levels while others can worsen it. Eat a healthy breakfast loaded with nutrients and minerals, and steer clear of processed and artificially sweetened food to keep calm and stay relaxed for your upcoming test.
4. Challenge negative self-talk
Test Anxiety often takes the form of the voice in our head thinking out loud all the ways things could go wrong. Take conscious steps to challenge this interior monologue by reminding yourself of all the ways in which you have readied yourself for the test you are about to take.
5. Check your overall anxiety
You are less likely to experience Test Anxiety if your overall anxiety levels are low. Practice self-care; observe a healthy sleep schedule, eat well and exercise your mind and body. Remember, every little effort counts.
6. Concentrate on your test
Try not to look over your shoulder and check how fast your peers are proceeding through the test. Focus on your own test-taking. It will help minimise your anxieties, even if a little.
7. Keep note of the time
Test Anxiety can accelerate if you lose track of time while taking your test. The best way to begin a test is to go over every question and mentally allocate a time limit for yourself to answer them. This way, you will not have to risk rushing to complete the questions asked, at the eleventh hour of the test.
8. Take long deep breaths
Control your breath. Our rate of breathing becomes much faster when we feel anxious. Concentrate on your breathing pattern. Calming your breath can do wonders for calming your mind!
9. Plan your reward
Arrange to treat yourself with a reward after you’ve completed taking the test. Whenever you begin to feel anxious during the test, remind yourself of this reward waiting for you on the other side. It will provide you with the motivation you need to see yourself through your test anxiety and all the way to test completion.
10. Reach out for help
Remember, you are not alone. Your Educators, Mentors and friends are always available to provide you with the support you need. Every one of us needs help at some point or the other in our lives and asking for help is never a sign of weakness.