Although it is not completely out of place to feel a sense of nervousness before your test, test anxiety presents with nasty symptoms. These symptoms could cause you to lose your ability to recall what you studied or affect your thinking capacity negatively.
Symptoms of test anxiety include:
- Increased heart rate
- Roaming thoughts
- Stomach upset
- Sweaty palms
- A feeling of anger, fear, or dread for the test
- Panic attack in some instances
In most cases, lack of self-confidence, fear of failing, or not being ready for your test can cause test anxiety. If you’ve had a terrible experience while taking a test in the past, leave it at that. Do not allow that to cause you to panic.
Here are effective ways to help you overcome test anxiety.
- Get yourself adequately Prepared and Ready for the exam.
No doubt, getting yourself prepared helps you overcome test anxiety. It gives you that sense of confidence you need to take your exam. Also, your mind will be at ease with no fear in you. This helps you face your exam without any form of anxiety.
Other things you can do to get yourself prepared include:
- Avoid cramming instead, study your books, and seek to understand all concepts.
- Be a part of a study group that has similar goals as yours.
- Have a study routine and stick to it to help you cover all your learning schedule.
- Update your study skills.
- Get to know about the test and go through past materials to help you have a clue of how the test is.
- Ask your friends and tutors whenever you are lost to help perfect your understanding.
- Get Enough Sleep Days to Your Test.
While it is good to study hard and at night, do not form the habit of depriving yourself of it. Not getting enough sleep can cause a wide array of symptoms similar to test anxiety. Getting enough sleep can help you combat stress and keep your memory performing at its best. Overcome test anxiety by getting enough rest days or weeks to your test.
Here are a few tips to help you get enough sleep to help you prevent test anxiety.
- Create your sleep and wake-time hours and stick to it.
- Create a study time-table and maintain it.
- Study all through the semester to avoid cramming or crashed reading.
- Avoid watching TV or using a computer just before bedtime.
- Doing all this will enable you to stay up to date in your studies while having to enjoy enough sleep.
- It is alright for you to take naps to make up for lost sleep hours.
- Avoid taking caffeine a few hours before bed-time.
- Get to the Test Venue as early as possible.
Ensure that you get to your test venue at least 10 minutes to your exam time, as this will decrease your anxiety due to rushing. Get everything ready the night before your exams and wake up early. Eat your breakfast and get some snacks if possible, to help keep yourself energized.
Also, you can keep yourself pacified by going through any piece of literature if you find yourself getting anxious while waiting for the exam. Stay away from colleagues who are having test anxiety to avoid working yourself up before the exam.
- Have a positive mental attitude.
Fill yourself with positive thoughts and boost your morale with positive words. There is nothing that works better than believing in yourself and having faith that you can strive through the high tide. Also, you must know that one exam is not enough to define whether you are a success or failure. Having a positive mental attitude is crucial for any exam, especially long and challenging ones like the USMLE Step 2 for medical students.
Stay positive because negativity can only make you ask the following anxiety-inducing questions:
- What areas will the exam cover?
- Will it be too difficult?
- Will I pass the exam?
Tell yourself positive things like:
- I can do this.
- I am prepared and there is no need to be afraid.
Summarily, combating test anxiety is a process that one needs to be actively involved in. to this end, ensure that what should be in place is in place. Get yourself prepared, never deprive yourself of sleep, and maintain a positive mental attitude. Doing such will keep your test anxiety at bay.
By Maia Steel