The school year is winding down and for many students, the thought of taking end-of-the-year tests can cause a great deal of anxiety. Luckily, there are ways to manage exam anxiety before and after a stress test. Before we dive into ways to keep calm before a test, let’s discuss what test anxiety is!
What is Test Anxiety?
It’s normal for students to feel a bit anxious before a test, but some students have a harder time managing their feelings of anxiety. These students may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to concentrate as well as experience physical symptoms such as nausea, increased heart rate, and headaches. While there are many contributing factors such as fear of failure and poor prep time, it’s best to work on staying calm and remember, other students experience test anxiety too!
Tips to Manage Test Anxiety
Students who create a study schedule will gain confidence in feeling prepared for their test. Whether reviewing material alone, with friends, or a tutor, practicing will ease fears and help with nerves when test day approaches.
Another great tip that is simple but often overlooked: get a good night’s sleep! Last minute studying and staying up all night to memorize exam materials can do more harm than good. Being fully rested and alert the day of a test keeps the mind sharp.
Along with having a restful night of sleep, loading up on a healthy, nutritious breakfast will keep energy levels up. It’s important to avoid foods high in sugar because sugar can lead to an energy crash before or during an exam.
Be positive! Keeping a positive attitude is key to minimizing test jitters. Creating a mind-boosting mantra such as “l studied, I got this” will bring confidence up and keep thoughts in a positive place.
Another important tip for keeping test anxiety at bay is taking calm, relaxing breaths. Taking deep breaths will help relax a racing mind and slow down a rapid heartbeat. By focusing on breathing, the body relaxes so focusing on the test is less stress-inducing.
And when all else fails, be confident!
Dijana Perlleshi, LCSW
Supervisor, School-based Mental Health Clinics