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Exam Anxiety: 7 Effective Ways to Banish it for Good

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Exam Anxiety: 7 Effective Ways to Banish it for Good

Trudy Jacobsen

Whether you are a high school student, an employee reaching for a promotion, or currently attending a university, you have likely felt “exam anxiety” at one point or another. 

Exams test knowledge or skills you have learned over a period of time and then provide only one short window of opportunity to demonstrate that knowledge. This “now or never” mentality of proving subject mastery tends to invoke fear in test takers of all ages. 

With the right preparations, however, you will have nothing to fear. 

Here are seven effective ways to banish exam anxiety—for good!

1. Genuinely Prepare as Well as You Can

It may sound cliché, but the best way to avoid test anxiety truly is to be prepared. Manage your time before the exam well and break up the material into manageable chunks. Dedicate a slot of time each day to studying and learning what you need to know for the exam, leaving yourself plenty of time to ask questions or to get clarification.

2. Take Care of Yourself While Studying

Your mind can only function so well without the help of your body. Therefore, do what you can to establish good habits during studying. Rather than relying on caffeine and sugar to keep you up all night cramming, make better choices during your test prep sessions. 

Eat healthy foods, drink enough water, and take breaks as needed. Only study during the times of day that are most effective for you and never put studying above your well-being.

3. Remember to Relax

Preparing for an exam is stressful, and you may be tempted to study every spare second you have. However, habits like this will quickly lead to burnout—which only feeds the stress you are already feeling. So, remember to approach all things in moderation. After a period of studying, get up and take a walk, take a bath, or just take a break.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is always important, but it becomes critical the night before a big exam. Go to bed at a reasonable time (even if you have butterflies or find it hard to sleep) and get up when you always do each morning. A 2am cramming session is for worried students who are not ready for test day—but you have put in the work to be prepared!

5. Don’t Study or Review Notes the Morning of Your Exam

It feels tempting to flip through your note cards while walking to the exam or to get one last outline review in while pacing the hallways. However, you must commit to a strict “no studying” schedule for the morning of your test. At this point, it is too late to stress over little details. You must trust that your efforts have carried you this far and enter your exam room with a clear mind. 

6. Pace Yourself, But Don’t Feel Rushed

Everyone tests at a different pace. And to banish your test anxiety for good, you must become comfortable with your personal rhythm. Review the entire exam before beginning and give yourself sufficient time to finish. Do not feel rushed or worried if students around you begin to stand up and turn their tests in—just focus on your work and what you can control. 

7. Leave the Test in the Past

After an important exam, students have a tendency to conduct a “post-mortem” of the material—discussing their thoughts and reactions in the hallway just outside the exam room. If you are already prone to exam anxiety, you will drive yourself insane second-guessing your answers or discussing the questions after turning your paper in.

The healthiest thing to do is accept that you prepared as well as you could have and that you did your best. Leave your exam in the past and look ahead to what comes next.

While there is no instant cure for banishing exam anxiety, practicing these seven steps will bring you closer to a feeling of peace when test day rolls around. Once you enter the exam room, take a deep breath—and remind yourself that you are in complete control. 

Dealing with exam anxiety can be incredibly challenging. Please reach out to me on (07) 3282 5453 for help during exam period. 

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