As you get closer to the test, your anxiety level is likely to rise. Develop a plan you can follow for test day to help you take control of the situation. This will allow you to focus on the details of your plan rather than on your anxiety.
- Eat before you go to take the test. Being hungry will interfere with your ability to concentrate during the test. Have a healthy breakfast or lunch, and bring a healthy snack if you think you might need it. Make sure you balance your meal with healthy protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods that can increase your stress levels.
- Come on time (not too early or late). Try to be early enough so you have time to get settled, but avoid having too much time with nothing to do but worry about the test.
- Try to find a seat outside of high traffic area. This will reduce your distractions and make it easier for you to concentrate.
- If you feel tense, take a deep-breath and relax for a minute. Shifting in your seat to make yourself more comfortable is necessary.
- Don’t chat with other students in the room about possible questions on the exam. Students who are unprepared often speak negatively. Don’t let them interfere with your focus. Remember, you have prepared for the test. Don’t take on their anxiety.
- Tune out distractions. Tell yourself, “Stay calm”. If you need to, practice some positive self-talk to give yourself some reinforcement.
- Read the directions carefully. Not only will this provide you with important information about completing the test, it will help you focus on the task at hand, rather than worrying about it.
- Don’t think about the other students in the room. You shouldn’t panic if other students start to hand in their tests. The test isn’t a race, and there is no reward for finishing first. Use the time you are given to do the best you can.
- Take several deep breaths in the middle of the test. Get a little extra oxygen to help revitalize your brain.
- If you go blank, take a deep breath, relax, and re-focus. Flag the question and return to it later, rather than allowing yourself to panic.
UAMS Student Success Center/ July/2015