How to Manage Test Anxiety and Gain Confidence for Exam Day
How to Manage Test Anxiety and Gain Confidence for Exam Day

How to Manage Test Anxiety and Gain Confidence for Exam Day

Sitting for a licensure exam is no day at the beach for anyone, but for those of us burdened with test anxiety, taking the licensure exam is especially daunting.

Test anxiety is common. Many are met with sweaty palms, a racing heart, difficulty concentrating, and even panic attacks while taking a test. This is the last thing we want to stand in our way of passing an exam we’ve dedicated hours studying for.

Here are some practical ways to manage test anxiety and gain confidence on exam day.

Identify Your Symptoms

Maybe you’ve been plagued with test anxiety for your entire life, or perhaps you don’t know what it is that comes over you when you sit down to take a test. Either way, understanding the symptoms associated with test anxiety will get you a step closer to managing it.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) , common signs of test anxiety are:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweaty palms
  • Headache
  • Light headedness
  • Panic attacks
  • Helpless feelings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thinking negatively and comparing yourself to others

Once you know what your symptoms are pointing to, you can get to the underlying cause.

Find the Cause

How can you treat your allergic reaction of puffy, watery eyes if you don’t know what you are allergic to? Similarly, how can you treat test anxiety if you don’t know what’s causing it?

The ADAA names three causes of test anxiety:

  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of preparation
  • Poor test history

You can manage test anxiety by addressing your fear of failure, lack of preparation, and poor test history. The following tips address all three causes.

Manage Test Anxiety

Be prepared.

The number one thing you can do to manage test anxiety is be prepared by developing good study habits from the beginning.

Most of our AATBS exam prep packages come with a spectacular feature: a personal coach. Your coach can help you get on your track to success right from the beginning. A coach will help you have quality over quantity study sessions by personalizing your experience and helping you study well.

Develop good test taking skills.

When you begin taking practice tests, get to know how questions are asked and learn why answers are what that they are. Eventually, work your way up to mocking the exam environment with a timer and a similar test-taking environment. Not only will you know what to expect on exam day, but mimicking the environment will allow you to get familiar with your test anxiety symptoms. Knowing how you react under certain pressures will help you to know how to deal with them if they come up on exam day.

If you’re not sure about your test-taking skills, check out our AATBS Test-Taking Bootcamp. Our goal is to equip you with strategy and critical thinking skills to pass the exam.

Stay positive.

Negative thinking and speaking is toxic. Not only do toxic thoughts and expressions affect your ability to do well on an exam, but they can affect your entire well-being. Detoxify your brain with positivity by turning “can’t” into “can.” Speaking this truth over yourself will allow you to eventually believe it. Believing that you can ultimately results in confidence which will cast out much of your test anxiety.

A practical way to stay positive is to have a mantra during exam prep that you carry with you to test day. Tell yourself this same thing every time you want to give up. Perhaps have it written in your exam notes and posted in your study space. Say something along the lines of “You can do it! Look how far you’ve come!”

Stay focused.

Our coaches often say that although the end goal of a passing score is the same, everyone’s journey will look different. Therefore, comparing yourself to others during exam prep and on test day won’t help you pass. Don’t pay attention to where other people are at in their journey or how their journey is different from yours. Focus on what’s best for you. This is not to say, however, that you should isolate yourself in your studies. Studying with a buddy can help motivate you and keep you focused.

If you need affirmation or direction for what is best for you during exam prep and on test day, call a coach. A coach can look objectively at your study habits and practice exam scores to help strengthen your weaknesses and affirm your strengths.

Practice relaxation techniques.

When anxiety hits during your exam, take a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose and then slowly out through your mouth a few times. Then, consciously relax your muscles one at a time. This will make you more alert and relaxed.

Then, remember your positivity mantra. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and how capable you are of passing the exam because it’s true; you have worked hard and you can achieve this milestone.

Stay healthy.

When you’re exhausted, anxiety is more difficult to handle. So, the first step to staying healthy is to get enough sleep.

When studying, it’s easy to think that getting up earlier and going to bed later will benefit you with more hours of studying, but studying is wasted on a tired brain. Make a habit of sleeping well during your exam prep so that, come test day, your body is used to a healthy sleep schedule.

The next steps to staying healthy are exercise and healthy eating habits. Exercise releases tension and clears your head. It releases endorphins that boost your confidence and help with positivity. Eating well will also help you stay focused and energized.

Ultimately, test anxiety is not a welcomed guest on exam day. To keep it at bay, prepare yourself and develop good test taking strategies, know your relaxation techniques, and stay positive, focused, and healthy!

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