Most students assume they have to be stressed and anxious on exam day. While the SAT and ACT are certainly challenging, you can be relaxed when you take the test. Preparation is the key. When you feel mentally and emotionally prepared, you can reduce the amount anxiety on exam day.
Study In Short Chunks
Feeling relaxed on exam day starts months in advance. Start studying in short chunks and take timed practice exams in the months approaching the exam. When you feel prepared and confident during the week before the exam you will have more time to get enough sleep and exercise which will help relieve stress and promote a calm demeanor during the exam.
Organize your exam essentials two weeks before the exam. Make sure your photo, admission ticket, ID’s and directions to the exam site are all in order. The less you have to scramble to get these items in order in the days approaching the exam, the less stress you will have to work to eliminate on exam day.
Eat well the morning of the exam. Wake up with plenty of time for breakfast. Choose a breakfast that is high in protein and low in sugar. Eggs and whole grain cereal with fruit is an excellent combination. This will help you stay focused and reduce jitters that can come from eating a sugary breakfast. Don’t drink coffee if it’s not part of your normal routine. Coffee can add to your jitters and make you feel more anxious.
Practice deep breathing. Breathing deeply is a relaxation tool that can work instantly, even during the exam. In fact, The American Institute of Stress calls deep breathing a “super stress buster.” It doesn’t require any outside equipment or disruptive movement. However, to be most effective, deep breathing takes practice. In the weeks before the exam, practice taking deep, focused breaths to clear your mind. When you start to feel stressed or anxious during the exam, use these techniques to calm down and stay focused.
Don’t Tolerate Stress
Don’t assume you have to tolerate stress or anxiety. Preparation and tools like deep breathing can help you stay relaxed and focused. It will be easier to perform to the best of your ability when you feel relaxed on exam day.
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