Many college students experience some form of exam anxiety. Some are able to deal with it and not let it affect their ability to prepare for a test. On the other hand, there are also students who experience a high level of exam anxiety, making it harder for them to study.
In case you feel nervous before a test, know that it’s perfectly normal. There’s a very good chance that many of your fellow students feel the same way. If you want to get good grades, you’ll need to not only study for your exams but mentally prepare for them as well. Here are some of the best ways to get ready for an upcoming test.
Improve Your Sleeping Habits
Not getting enough sleep can have disastrous effects on your mental health, memory, and focus. You’ll also be more likely to experience excessive stress if you aren’t well-rested. The first step when it comes to mental preparation for exams is to improve your sleeping habits.
It’s advised that you get between seven and nine hours of rest every night. To increase the quality of sleep, make sure you cut off all distractions when you go to bed. Another great way to boost your sleep quality is to lower your stress.
There are several different ways you can reduce your stress levels, like taking a walk or enjoying a massage. If you’d like a relaxing massage without having to leave your room, you can get a foot spa. Anything that you find particularly calming will do the trick and help you wake up well rested after a night’s sleep.
Make a Plan
If you have at least several days until your exam, you have more than enough time to make a plan on how you’re going to go over the material for the test. Estimate how many hours per day you’ll have to study in order to learn everything. It’s vital to be as realistic as possible when making these estimates. Keep in mind that the average college student can’t study effectively for more than a few hours in a row.
When you’re making a plan, it’s recommended to be as detailed as possible. Determine which sections you’ll do on which day, as well as when and how often you’ll take breaks. Time management is a very important skill when it comes to preparing for exams.
Do Some Cardio
Although you may be more focused on studying, it’s a good idea to set aside some time to do a short cardio workout once a day. If you do cardio for around half an hour per day, you’ll reap some fantastic benefits. For instance, an activity like jogging can release powerful compounds known as endorphins, which elevate your mood and make you feel energized.
Cardio has been linked to improved memory and improved focus as well. If you commit to doing some aerobic exercises each day, you’ll greatly reduce your stress and anxiety. On top of that, there are countless physical health benefits linked to working out.
Find a Study Buddy
Obviously, this applies only to students who recognize themselves as social learners. In case you feel like you’re able to study more effectively on your own, you shouldn’t look for a study buddy. With that being said, many students are social learners. When you have someone by your side who shares the same goal as you, you’ll be more motivated to study.
If you like to be around more people, you can join a study group. Being in a study group will help you avoid procrastinating. Because a group of people is able to digest material quicker than an individual, students can get more done in less time. Engaging in discussions regarding the material is a fun and easy way to learn. Furthermore, you’ll get a chance to test your own knowledge whenever you explain a certain concept to a member.
Any activity that you engage in when you’re studying that doesn’t make you more productive is a distraction. There is no reason for you to keep your TV turned on if you’ve decided to start studying. It’s also a very bad idea to keep your phone in front of you, as you’ll likely use it as soon as you get a notification.
Grabbing your phone to check out a notification can easily transform into hours of texting and social media usage. To study effectively without any distractions, you’ll need to put on your phone on silent and stash it away somewhere.
If you can’t focus properly on studying because you’re in a noisy environment, you should put on a pair of headphones and play some instrumental music. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to study effectively if you put on any type of music that contains lyrics. In most cases, lyrics cause you to lose focus on studying and devote your attention to the music.
Take Regular Breaks
The average student doesn’t give too much thought to when and how often to take breaks from studying. However, regular breaks are incredibly important for mentally preparing for exam sessions. If you study for hours without taking a single break, you might experience burnout quickly and completely lose motivation to keep going.
When you take regular breaks, you’ll be able to get more studying done throughout the day. Your focus and memory will remain sharp even after a few hours of reading. It’s recommended that you take at least a five-minute break every hour. Make sure that you take this time to unwind completely, not jump on your phone. You can take a short walk around your building or do some breathing exercises while you’re on your break.
Have Realistic Expectations
If you expect to get a perfect score, it’s understandable why you would be anxious before an exam. You can reduce your stress and anxiety by setting realistic expectations. Don’t spend your time and energy worrying about the results. Instead, focus on studying the material and performing as best as you can on the test.