Studying for an exam is one thing, but preparing your mind and body to take the exam is another story. Have you ever studied so well for a test just to find yourself not satisfied by how the actual testing experience turned out? You’re not alone! This mostly happens due to exam stress or test anxiety. According to the American Test Anxieties Association, about 16 – 20% of students have high test anxiety while 18% struggle with moderately-high test anxiety.
I’m sure you guessed that this will diminish performance. Anxiety reduces working memory, distorts reasoning, increases mistakes made thus leading to lower test scores. What can I do to be relaxed before my exam you ask? Well, here are 7 tips to prepare yourself psychologically the day before and the morning of your test or exam. While this will not guarantee success, it will greatly increase your chances; putting you in the right frame of mind for your exam.
Prepare yourself and your materials the night before
You don’t want to start looking for pens, pencils, calculators, or any other thing you need in the morning. That’s a sure way to stress you up before you exam. Make sure you arrange all you need the night before and put it where you can easily find it. It doesn’t hurt to do the same for your outfit. The whole idea is to eliminate any worries in the morning.
In essence, do the following the night before:
Collect all writing materials (pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, …)
Get enough sleep: Though your mind may be excited about the exam, go to bed early to get at least 8 hours of sleep. To help you fall asleep, take a warm shower, relax your mind with a good book or cup of tea, and put away your phone.
Set your alarm: You don’t want to oversleep either so set your alarm a few minutes before wake up time to give you an extra buffer. Don’t put yourself in conditions where you have to rush to the hall; that’s stress for sure.
Prepare your outfit. You shouldn’t be thinking of what you’ll wear in the morning.
Map out your trajectory to the testing location: If the test location is unknown to you, make sure you find out exactly how to get there the day before. Always allow time for traffic as it could cause you to arrive late. Something unexpected like and accident could delay you a lot. Aim to arrive at least 20 minutes ahead of the start time
2. Get your mind and body ready for action
Once you’re up on the morning of your test, you need to get your mind prepared; same with your body. It is not the time for you to start doing last minute revisions; that’s a recipe for failure. Do the following to get your mind and body prepared:
Listen to Music as you prepare at home or on your way to the test center. Prepare your favorite playlist of songs to get you pumped up for the exam. As you sing along in your head, your brain starts processing information; getting ready for the exam.
Repeat positive affirmations: Avoid all negativity. Tell yourself that you’re ready and success is yours. You could listen to motivational speeches to help with that.
Relax with deep breaths if you suddenly feel stressed up. Take a few minutes and concentrate on your breathing to reduce anxiety.
3. Dress appropriately and Comfortably
Consider the season, weather and environment when preparing your outfit. If it’s cold, you should wear warm clothing and vice versa. Make sure you dress decently as well to feel comfortable. Don’t be stuck with jeans that are too tight or very short skirts. If you’ll be sitting for hours, you should wear comfortable footwear; no heels especially. Put on something that makes you feel confident and ready to succeed; it doesn’t have to be flashy but simple.
4. Eat a smart and nutritious breakfast
You may not be a breakfast person but the morning of your exam is not the day to skip breakfast. Especially if you’ll be taking exams for hours. Let your breakfast include necessary vitamins, and keep you full and energized. Some good options are garnished bread with tea or a bowl of cereal with milk. You could couple those with yoghurt or fruits on the side. Avoid unhealthy foods for breakfast; foods with high sodium and fats can make you to feel sleepy.
5. Activate your brain
Read something short and sweet as you prepare for the exam in the morning. Such reading has the same effect as stretching before working out. You need to warm up your brain before the exercise proper begins. But what should I read that is short and sweet, you ask? Consider these:
Read a few news articles about current events. This will take your mind off your own anxieties.
Read part of a book you’re interested in to help you relax and get your mind ready to process information.
AVOID ALL MATERIAL RELATED TO THE TEST! This is really important. Don’t go over concepts before an exam. Though you want your mind ready, you also don’t want to ruin the information you already have. Memorizing in the morning will distort what you already know.
6. Take snacks along
If you’ll be writing for hours, you’ll have breaks between. You should have some light snacks for your breaks to keep you refreshed. Make sure you also have water to stay hydrated throughout. Your snacks should have natural unprocessed sugars for quick energy. Bring mints and gum to keep your mouth active as you write; that keeps you awake and focused.
7. Calm yourself and focus when you arrive the hall
Once you’re in the hall, you’ll have some time before the test begins. It’s time to relax your mind and not stress yourself out. Get familiar and comfortable with the environment; look for a seat that’s convenient for you if you have the choice. You could sit by the window if you looking outside relaxes you. Or you could sit in front you’re easily distracted by others. Turn off your cell phone and other smart devices to avoid distractions. Stretch your legs and arms to get your body ready for the long exam. Now it’s time to do you best and leave the rest to God…
We’ve covered 7 tips for you to prepare the day before and the morning of an exam. In summary:
Prepare yourself and your materials the night before
Get your mind and body ready for action
Dress appropriately and Comfortably
Eat a smart and nutritious breakfast
Activate your brain
Take snacks along
Calm yourself and focus when you arrive the hall
That’s it folks. Do these and increase your chances of success. In subsequent posts, we’ll also talk about things NOT to do before an exam or test. Have you subscribed to our blog yet? Why not do so now. Make sure your check these related articles below. Thank you for reading and until next time, BESTech remains your BEST bet.
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