3 Tips to Overcome Test Anxiety

For many of you end of year finals are here, or if not, they’re lurking behind the next corner. If this thought makes your stomach drop or your palms sweat, we have some helpful tips for working past your test anxiety and getting the grade you deserve. Read on, and good luck!

test hall

It’s time for that final push before the end of another school year. Whatever form they might take – SATs, ACTs, midterms or finals – exams are just around the corner, and no matter how well you’ve prepared you still get those test-day jitters. If this sounds like you, don’t fear! Here are three study tips to help you calm your nerves before your next test or exam…

  1. Don’t cram before your test. You should begin studying for your exam well in advance of D-Day. Some review the night before is wise, but leaving your studying until the last minute can turn any nervous test taker into a nervous wreck. Instead, finish early the night before and move on to the next step below.
  2.  Practice meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi to meditate; meditation is simply the act of clearing the mind of external, nagging thoughts. You probably practice meditation throughout the day without even realizing it! Now try it consciously by breathing deeply, relaxing your body one muscle at a time, and emptying your thoughts of exam stress. A recent study also shows the positive effect meditation can have on grades, which means this tactic can not only help you to relax, but to actually improve your score as well. For help with how to relax your body and empty your mind, try listening to this guided meditation specifically for students. Follow these steps the night before your exam and not only will you have a great night’s sleep, but you’ll be calm and set for your big test too.
  3. During your test it’s easy for nerves to give way to panic. But if you go down that route, you could spend half your time fretting over questions instead of actually answering them. Try to keep yourself grounded in the exam itself by focusing your concentration on one question at a time. To build up your confidence, you may want to answer easier questions first before moving on to more difficult ones. And of course, begin your exam by skimming through as much of the test packet as you’re permitted to. This will give you a good idea of how to manage your time wisely.
test anxiety
And if it gets tough, remember: just breathe. You know the material, so don’t let shaky nerves hold you back from the grade you deserve! Here are five more quick tips and tricks to remember on test day:
  • Don’t worry about how quickly other people finish their tests, and don’t be afraid to take your time. Rushing isn’t necessarily a sign of competence.
  • Taking a Math or Science test? Write down important formulas you may need to remember during the test in a margin. For tests in other subjects you can also use this trick for important dates or definitions that are easy to forget.
  • Exercise in the days leading up to your exams to reduce stress.
  • Don’t forget to read the directions for every test section before you begin!
  • Show up to the test site early so you don’t have to stress about possibly being late.

Good luck with finals!