The year end finals are on our doorstep and with that all the anxiety that comes with it. Test anxiety is normal, as a matter a fact some anxiety actually improves your concentration and sharpens your brain function. But what happens when your test anxiety is so bad that it prevents you from achieving your goals

Test anxiety now has become more than just a bit of the jitters, but rather a conscious problem that needs managing.  For any of you reading this, feeling that your anxiety is more than most I would recommend that you take control of it, because as society and the adult world evolves, they are less understanding towards uncontrolled anxiety, you need to find your center.

Today I though I can try and help you anxiety driven students, with these simple but effective anxiety controlling techniques.

1. Study Effectively and Efficiently

One of the very best choices you can make as a student in your first semester is to find out exactly what is the best study methods and study spaces will work for you .  Some people simply have to read through their textbooks and make a few highlighter marks here and there. Others, like myself are not such a student, I’m one of those that benefited from brain maps, colouring sections, summaries, rhymes and flash cards.

I strongly suggest you find you study method first and fast.  Studying through the night, reading and writing pages of summaries and not yielding the result you should, is the most frustrating part of your college years.

Remember there is time for play, sleep and work.

When you play, play like there is no tomorrow

When you sleep, sleep like the dead

When you work, work with focus, concentration and no procrastination.

Knowing you study the most effective and efficient way for you will definitely improve your anxiety levels, simply by ensuring you did your best;)

2. Find what works for you

One of my college friends actually had a bad case of test anxiety.  He eventually manage to get his anxiety to a manageable level, but it took the persistence of the Energizer bunny to overcome this matter.

One of his methods was to have a routine, an exam day routine.  He would study has hard as he can, get a proper nights sleep and go to the gym early in the morning and have a healthy breakfast.  There were of course various aspect to this routine, but the point is he find a “To-Do list” to calm himself down.

Finding a way to clear your mind, bring silence to the panic and control to the anxiety is key in managing your test anxiety and improving your test results in the end.

Finding your center and keeping your fears at bay will ensure an easier and happier expierence

3. Nutrition improves test anxiety

You shouldn’t forget to eat and drink while studying and writing the exam. Also don’t think sweets are the best think, it actually can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and drop before you are even done with the exam.  I suggest you have a good size breakfast, not massive – you don’t want to be overfull the morning of your exam.  Also have some water and maybe dried fruits ready to take into the exam (pre-wrap them in some glad wrap to prevent any noise).

Try and avoid:

  • Sugar items, such as candy and soda drinks
  • Caffeine can increase your anxiety, not to much coffee.

4. Exercise improves test anxiety

Exercise is one of those immediate tension, stress and anxiety relievers.  It is good to try an make the time to go for a morning jog around campus in the month of testing as well as the day of testing.

Nothing bad can come from regular exercise. As exercise will only help your anxiety, stress and ensure you are a healthier fitter person.  Get into a regular exercise routine, it doesn’t have to be long, but spending ten minutes a day is way better than nothing everyday.

5. Get the ZZZ’s in, it improves test anxiety

Sleeping is there for your mind to have time to organise and process information, put files in place and juck those taking up space.  This process needs around 8-10 hours of sleep a night.  Make sure you get at least 7 hours a night throughout the month.  The night before the exam you should aim for 10 hours.

Some health benefits to sleep:

  • Improve Longevity
  • Improves Memory
  • Improves Physical performance and stamina in athletes
  • Improve Mental Vitality
  • Improves your Weight Control
  • Improves your Stress levels, Anxiety and Depression
  • Improves your Sex Life

6. Inform your Prof of your test anxiety

You should inform your prof of your test anxiety, and you should also ensure that your proff understands how much of an obstacle it may be.  Your educator might  have a different way to testing your knowledge.  They might also be inclined to give you a bit more time, evry bit of advice and help can improve your results.

7.  Do you have a learning disability?

Don’t be shy to get yourself tested, there are no shame.  Only victory can come from this.  Understanding how your body and mind works is every individuals responsibility.  If you have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia then you should know about it.  Most learning disabilities can be improved, even at a late stage such as collage.

Don’t feel like a dummy by being uninformed, find the answers to your questions.  Your varsity will have counselors that can help with these very test.  Go talk to them, they are there to help.

8. Strive for a relaxed state of concentration

The day of the exam, try and avoid as many people that are stress balls.  You don’t need and want their little voices in your head, causing you to doubt yourself, when they are actually doubting themselves.  You know that you have done your best, study as hard as you can and prepared as far as you can.  Be in control of your thoughts and emotions by surrounding yourself with the influences you want.

9. Manage your time

Time management is one of the most important aspect of your life, or it will become.

Manage your time before and during the exam so that there are no unwanted surprises.

In the exam start with a quick scan of the exam, ensuring you can quickly calculate how much time will be needed for the longer questions.  Secondly start by answering the quick questions first.  Don’t over spend your time here, keep to the minute a mark countdown at the very least. Once at the longer questions, you should plan them for a few minutes before just jumping in.

End by reading through your entire exam again and do a quick check of your name and student number.  Remember there are no reward for finishing first.

10. Be positive, forget the fear

Remember that you are doing your very best and that it will be good enough.  Remind yourself of this fact, say it in your mind when you start feeling the anxiety rushing by.

Your best is your best, no one can expect more from you, neither shouldn’t you.

Positive Reinforcement can make a world’s different.

Test anxiety is one of those things we all suffer from, some more than others.  But no matter your level of anxiety, it can be managed and perhaps even overcome.  Try these test anxiety reduction techniques, they might just give you that extra boost you need.

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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