Everyone knows the feeling of exam anxiety: the nervousness, the clammy hands, the sweaty brows, the nausea, the racing heart. You may not have all of these symptoms, but the chances are good that you have experienced at least some of them before a major exam. Almost every student experiences exam anxiety, but the good news is that there are ways to minimize its impact on you. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to beat exam anxiety and stress so you can have a more pleasant and less upsetting exam experience.
So, where to begin? The best place to start is with the test material.
Here’s an ultimate guide for students on how to beat exam stress and anxiety in college or university.
Know the Material
Remember, your instructor isn’t Jigsaw and your course isn’t the Saw movies. Your exam isn’t a trap, and your instructor isn’t trying to hurt you. The point of an exam is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate what you know and what you’ve learned. So, the best way to combat exam anxiety and stress is to not have a cold. After all, you can’t be challenged by material you’ve mastered. Paying good attention during the course, carefully reviewing the readings and your notes, and familiarizing yourself with ways to apply concepts from the course to real-world situations are all great ways to make sure you know your stuff and can use it when the time comes. The more comfortable you are with the material, the less anxious you’ll be about being tested on it.
Start Preparing Early
It’s a known fact that most students only begin studying shortly before a test. That can be a recipe for disaster, since “cramming” only puts facts into short-term memory and does little to promote the deeper level of understanding that most exams are looking to test. Instead, begin preparing for midterms from the first day of class and for the final exam from the first day after midterms. Knowing that you are preparing every day will help to build your confidence, and the more confident you are, the less stress you’ll feel.
Use Professional Essay Writing Services
Many exams are graded on take-home essays, so get the help you need to create great essays that meet or exceed your instructor’s expectations when you hire professional academic writers at writing services to create custom-written papers for you. When you hire someone to write an original essay for you, you’ll receive the kind of academic writing help you can’t get from a conference with your professor or a trip to your school’s writing center. You’ll see exactly how a professional with an advanced degree such as a master’s degree or PhD would approach your topic so you can use this expert perspective to model your own essay and develop a stronger and more powerful paper.
Develop Your Memory Skills
While phones make it easy to look up a fact at any time, when you are in a testing situation, you need to rely on your memory. Develop your memory with proven memory-enhancing techniques. For example, using flash cards can help to burrow facts deep into your memory. You might also want to use word-association techniques to help you retain more complicated information. Acronyms, mnemonics, and other ways of associating ideas with easily remembered phrases can help you to better recall information when you need it on the test with a minimum of effort.
Limit Your Use of Caffeine and Other Stimulants
Many students try to fit in extra cramming time by using caffeine or other stimulants to stay awake for longer late-night cramming sessions. This can be problematic for many reasons, among which is the fact that late-night cramming isn’t retained very long, and too many stimulants can leave you too hopped up to sit down and focus once the exam starts in the morning. You’re better off getting a good night’s sleep and making sure that you have the rest you need to let the information you soaked up the night before settle firmly into your memory. Rest does wonders for retaining information that you have studied in the hours before sleep.
Limit Your Food Intake for a Couple of Hours Before the Test
Healthy, nutritious food is important for top brain performance, but have a high-protein, low fat meal a couple of hours before the test begins and then avoid food until it’s over. Your brain and your digestive system shouldn’t be competing for energy at the same time, and if you eat right before a test, your body will shift resources from your brain to your gut to help you digest. Besides, too much food before a test can make you drowsy, and the last thing you need is to fall asleep during the test!
Have a Positive Attitude
A lot of the stress and anxiety you feel comes from fear and worry. By developing a positive attitude, you’ll be more likely to combat fear, stress, and anxiety by feeling confident. If you don’t feel confident, then fake it. Pretending to be positive will help you to become more positive—fake it till you make it! If you expect to do well, you will be more relaxed and more likely to do well. After all, no one test is critical to your entire future, so relax a little. It can only help!
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