As the semester ends, it’s time to hunker down and hit the books. Your final exams are coming soon, and there’s much to study for. Multiple classes mean multiple finals and long nights of reviewing. Having jitters before these tests is typical for many students, so you don’t feel alone. While these nerves can be overwhelming, there are methods for overcoming them. Here are five tips to overcome your test anxiety for this year’s finals.
1. Prioritize Your Sleep
One of the best pre-test strategies is getting enough sleep the night before. While cramming the material is tempting, you should prioritize sleep the night before. When you don’t get enough sleep, you compromise your memory and critical thinking skills — two essentials for taking tests.
A 2021 PLOS One study reviews the relationship between undergraduate students’ test performance and sleep behavior, concluding that sleep duration positively correlates with test scores. Begin studying as far ahead as possible to ensure you get a good night’s sleep before your finals.
2. Study Wisely Beforehand
Studying before the exams is imperative, but you should focus on your review methods. Sometimes, simply reviewing your notes and memorizing the presentation slides won’t be enough. Try various approaches and find the one that works the best for you.
For example, some people study the material and teach it to another person in their dorm or household. If you can explain a concept to someone unfamiliar with the topic, you’ll be more confident in your ability to take a test.
Your studying may be best in a quiet setting, so find an isolated room or a library where everyone else remains silent. When studying alone, find ways to shake up your review. Read your notes in reverse order or create flashcards to memorize key concepts. Practice potential essay questions to improve your understanding and make you feel more prepared.
3. Find Study Buddies
When preparing for exams, you may put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform well. However, you don’t have to approach your finals alone. There are others in your class who feel similar anxiety to you. Find a trusted colleague in the course and ask if they want to study together. Finding study partners is beneficial because you can bounce ideas off each other and make your perspective more well-rounded.
Another option for test preparation is to find a mentor. This person could be a faculty member, a professional in your desired field or someone who has taken the class before. Your mentor will make you more productive and engaged by improving your study habits and imparting wisdom on test taking. Even when they can’t help, mentors are useful for pointing you in the right direction.
4. Start Your Day Early
When the test days come, start your day early to ensure you have enough time before each final. The last thing you want to do is rush to get inside the classroom before the test starts. Consider waking up a little earlier than usual and getting to the exam room early. You’ll feel more comfortable knowing you’ve adequately prepared and demonstrated responsibility.
When arriving early to the exam room, use this time to brush up on your notes. Give yourself a final quiz on the material so the content is fresh on your mind. If a friend is in the room, test each other on concepts to boost your confidence and gain additional perspectives.
5. Eat A Balanced Pre-Test Meal
The pre-test jitters may make you lose your appetite in the morning. Stress and anxiety cause your body to undergo emotional and psychological changes, and not feeling hungry is one of the key signs.
While you might not feel hungry, eating something before your exams is best to improve your test scores. Research has demonstrated the benefits of fueling your body and brain. A 2020 Behavioral Sciences study finds a significant positive correlation between students’ dietary habits, family affluence and test scores.
So, what counts as a solid pre-test breakfast? Balance your breakfast with simple carbohydrates and protein to energize your body. If you don’t have much time, make your pre-exam meal easier with overnight oats. This sweet treat is nutritious with protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium and other essential nutrients. Plus, they’re customizable and easy to adjust to your liking.
Performing Your Best On The Tests
The end of the semester is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, you first have to get through the final exams. While these tests bring stress and anxiety, you have the tools to overcome these jitters and perform your best. Use these five tips to feel more prepared and mitigate test anxiety.