There are few things quite as stressful as preparing for a test. Before it comes to putting pencil to paper, it feels as though it takes over your entire brain and nothing else feels quite as important. Here are some top tips to clear your mind before a test to allow yourself to perform your best.
Start revising in plenty of time before your test, but not too early that you completely forget everything that you had studied! Cramming the night before an exam rarely yields good results and will add so much extra stress to an already high-pressure time. Set up a revision timetable to help spread out your studying and allow you to take your time, absorbing the information.
Don’t wait until the morning of your test to get all your stuff packed and ready. Dig out that calculator, those spare pencils and anything else you might need the night before, and pack it carefully in your bag. It will help you sleep soundly knowing that you are all ready and packed for the morning, without those late night panics of wondering if you will remember everything.
As much as it is important to exercise your brain, it is also beneficial to exercise your body, especially when you are particularly stressed. A great way to expel nervous energy is to go for a run, a dance class or a bike ride. Whatever gets your heart pumping and those feel-good endorphins coursing through your body. On the morning of the exam, head to the gym to wake yourself up and get your brain focussed while working out that nervousness.
Meditation is a great way to quiet your mind and focus your brain. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem – the idea is that you sit quietly, close your eyes and let your thoughts float away. Practice this a few weeks before your exam so you can really get the hang of it. There are plenty of guided meditation apps if you feel as though you want a bit more structure. Leave yourself some time to meditate on the day of your test before you go into the exam hall to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
In the hall
Take a deep breath before you go into the exam hall to try and relax. Take a minute to get all of your equipment ready before you turn over the paper. Make sure you read all of the instructions before you rush into answering questions, and try to keep yourself as calm as possible – anxiety and worry won’t help you perform!
After your exam, it is unlikely that all of the stress will just melt away. After all, now you have to wait to see what result you got, which is pretty terrifying! Make an effort to acknowledge that it is over and there is nothing you can do to influence the result. Reward yourself with something fun and make time to see your friends without the stress of exams hanging over you. Resist the urge to compare answers or obsess over your notes – what is done is done. As long as you tried your best, that is all you can do.