Test anxiety is a real thing. It affects adult learners just as much as it does kids in grade school. The good news is that you can reduce your test-taking anxiety with the right approach. It’s not just about lowering anxiety but also about feeling confident and prepared. For adult learners looking to go to grad school or medical school, there is a lot riding on getting a good result on a big test.
Test anxiety can leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and fearful of the future. That’s why anxiety can be especially hard to deal with when it comes to taking exams. However, there are ways to manage this anxiety so that it doesn’t hinder your performance. Here are some tips on how to reduce test-taking anxiety.
Take Practice Tests With Sample Questions
Practice tests are a great way to prepare for the real thing. Sample questions give you an idea of what types of questions will be asked and how they’re formatted, so you can identify areas of weakness and strength before taking the actual test.
MCAT sample questions for instance mimic the test itself. These questions can help you gain confidence not only in the content but in the way that it’s presented. It’s not enough to just know things, you need to also understand how the tests work. Sample questions for tests like the GRE or MCAT can give you this understanding.
Don’t Cram Study Time Last Minute
Many people get anxious about taking tests because they aren’t fully prepared or they don’t feel prepared. Test-taking should be easy because you’ve made study time a part of your lifestyle and not a one-time event the day before a big exam. By studying a little each day and reviewing old material, you can help your brain store the information away more long-term instead of short-term. This can make it easier to access the information.
Start With The Questions You Are Most Confident In Answering
One of the best ways to reduce your test-taking anxiety is to start the test by answering questions that you know right away. If you can skip questions where the answer doesn’t come to you instantly and come back to them later, you will feel more confident and it can reduce your anxiety.
This will help you later in the test when you need to go back and think through the more difficult questions. Make sure you understand if it’s better to leave an answer blank or to answer incorrectly for the type of test you are taking.
Use Herbal Remedies To Calm Anxiety
There are a number of herbal remedies that can be used to reduce test anxiety. You can use lavender, valerian, and even chamomile to help you out. Some people make tea to help them out while others will use something like essential oils to get the aromas that can calm stress and anxiety. You could even take a potent herbal tincture if you have extreme test anxiety.
Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself. When you tell your brain these things, it eventually believes it and it can help to reduce your anxiety around taking tests. These affirmations help you feel more confident, in control, and relaxed when facing a stressful situation like taking a big test.
Some examples are: “I am intelligent,” “I understand the material I am studying,” “I can do well on this test,” and “I am calm and relaxed.” To use affirmations effectively say them out loud in the morning and throughout the day when needed leading up to a big test.
Use A Variety Of Study Tools
Different study tools engage the brain in unique ways. You can try flash cards, study guides, online practice tests, and even listening to the material on your drive to work. These can all help you remember key facts and information that you will be tested on.
Rest Well The Night Before A Big Exam
Get a good night’s sleep before you go in to take your exams. It’s possible that your anxiety about the exam could keep you up, but prioritize getting to sleep at a reasonable hour so that you can rest. Your brain will be clearer and calmer on test day than if you stayed up all night studying.
Now that you know how to reduce your test-taking anxiety, it’s time to put these tips into action. Pick a few that can work for you and see how they can help.
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