The most stressful part of any student’s life is the ever-impending exams sporadically scheduled throughout the year. Whether it’s a short in-class quiz or a state standardized test, no student enjoys the multiple-choice mayhem. The anticipation, though, is considerably the worst part. I often find myself lost on where to begin in test prepping. For those of you who share the same troubles, I have compiled a list of steps that are guaranteed to take the anxious edge off a test day.
1. Create a schedule and stick to it
The most difficult part of test prepping is finding time to study. As a theatre major, I rarely have down time that I haven’t dedicated to a performance or a show. This is where creating a schedule comes in handy. Take the time to write out all your commitments in the two weeks leading up to a test. Find gaps of free time and designate that as your study time.
By no means should you read a whole textbook in one study session. Use your schedule and plan what parts to study. Along with this, you should focus on your trouble areas. Maybe you know arc length of a circle like the back of your hand, but angle of elevation is a foreign language to you. That’s fine! Just dedicate more of your time to reading over the necessary chapters. Nothing should be put before your education. We’ve all been there: we know we have something to get done, but there are a million other things we’d rather be doing. When it comes to studying, you can’t put it off! Set your mind to it, and it will get done.
2. Avoid stress the night before the test
The worst thing you can do the night before your big test is stress. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can create multiple problems for an individual. When your brain detects stress, it assumes you are in danger, therefore releasing hormones that increase your heart rate. This will keep you up far longer than necessary, ruining your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Stress can also lead to physical illness, such as stomach cramps and nausea, which is not fun on test day! Instead of stressing, take some time to relax and do something you enjoy that doesn’t require much physical movement. Lie down and play some music, read a book, watch a movie, meditate—anything to keep your mind at ease.
3. Simplify your morning the day of the test
On the morning of a test, it is natural to want to do some last-minute cramming. This is a huge no-no! Studying on the morning of a test will only further stress you out. Instead, wake up at a reasonable time, take a nice shower, and have a good breakfast. I always prefer to wear something comfortable to get me in an eased mindset. Test days are no time to stress. This morning should be all about your relaxation. Go about your morning routine normally. Condense it even: no makeup, no perfume or cologne, no long outfit-picking sessions. This is a sure way to reduce stress and ready you mentally for the test.
No one likes exams, but with a little bit of effort, you can reduce the pain of them. Simply following these steps can make a world of difference for your next testing experience!
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