Not to say I am some well-renowned expert on anxiety, but I have definitely had my fair share of so called “mental breakdowns” throughout the years. My test anxiety was at its peak throughout high school. My mom would send me to therapists to determine the source of my test fear, even “spiritual healers”, you name it -I did it. But through all of these sessions and far too many breakdowns, I learned more and more strategies to mentally and physically deal with my test anxiety. Here are some techniques I’ve learned throughout my experiences that will hopefully prevent you from feeling as much anxiety as I did!
1. Take study breaks
As simple as this may sound, it is one of the best techniques I’ve learned. Instead of spending hours straight staring at a textbook, your brain will actually be more refreshed if you take a break in between. Taking a walk, watching a movie, reading, eating with your friends, even working out, are all perfect outlets for your stress in the middle of your studies. You’ll return to your library cubicle feeling much more focused and refreshed rather than rotting in front of your study guide!
2. Do Not Start Studying The Night Before
By breaking up your study time, you’re able to absorb the entity of the material much more clearly rather than cramming ten chapters into one night. Let’s face it -we’ve all been there. Breaking up the material throughout the week is a much more productive and helpful way to not only ace that test, but also give your brain a break! Studying at least two chapters a night is a much more efficient, non-stressful method compared to cramming all of the material into just one day.
Whether it’s taking a walk around campus or running 6 miles on the treadmill, exercise is scientifically proven to relieve stress. By exercising your body releases chemical endorphins, which actually trigger positive emotions in your body. Not only does it keep you healthy, but it also makes you feel good and relieves stress in between study sessions.
4. Eat Super Foods!
So-called “super foods” are not only nutritious, but they are also known to boost your mood. Eating such foods like beans, nuts, greens, salmon, fruits, kale, and acai are just a few examples of super foods that will keep you energized as well as be an automatic mood booster!
5. Take a Deep Breath
Most importantly, do NOT forget to remind yourself that it is just a test. Most likely, this one exam is not going to affect your entire life. In fact, I bet you won’t even remember this stressful day a year from now. Anxiety doesn’t benefit you in any way, it doesn’t make studying any easier, and it certainly won’t get you an A on that final. Sure, putting a little pressure on yourself is important, but certainly not to the point of letting it fog your brain from doing what you’re doing. Sometimes you become so distracted with being anxious, it makes it impossible to even study! Anxiety is not going to solve any of your problems or make studying any easier. I have certainly learned that the more time I spend panicking about a test, the worse I actually do. Going into the exam with a calm and confident mindset sets you up to do 10x better on your exam when you’re not letting anxiety cloud your focus.
Take a deep breath, have confidence, and remind yourself anxiety IS NOT getting in your way!