Exam Stress: Does this Hit You?
Test anxiety. If you’ve got it, you know it. Symptoms range from simple dread to physical symptoms like tension and increased pulse. If you could take a picture of what’s happening inside your brain, you’d see the older reptilian parts coiling up, getting ready for action, while the newer parts of the brain you need the most, like your working memory, are packing for vacation.
If you know this about yourself, what can you do to welcome back your best memory and reasoning skills?
First, take a moment to figure out why. Is anxiety something you feel in other parts of your life? Are you under pressure to meet high expectations you’ve set for yourself — or that others have set for you? Need a good score to move on? Less prepared than you had hoped to be?
Sort out your reasons and resolve to tame them. Here are a few ways:
Train to chill out. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, visualization –trained relaxation can work. If you have some lead-time, you can start conditioning yourself to relax on cue by pairing a mental word or image with relaxation techniques. When you sit down to the test, you can trigger this relaxed state. Here’s a quick technique that feeds your brain oxygen, from Self magazine.
Study for the type of test. Did you know that specific types of tests require specific skills? If an exam is multiple choice, you need to recognize the right answer but you don’t have to recall it. So you need a grasp of everything but don’t need to know it rote. Problem-solving exams require you to recall content but more importantly to apply it, so study to the process used to solve the problem.
Diet. Give your brain an advantage by eating fruits, veggies, protein, and omega-3 oils. When you’re feeling drained, get a healthy boost from E6 Energy Shots and Strips.
Get a “headstart” on exercise. More and more, body fitness is being linked to brain fitness, so max out your cognitive self with exercise.
Be prepared. Hey, seems obvious, but knowing the material cold can give you the confidence you need. So to really chill out, be ready, and perform at your best.