Every student has their Achilles heel of test subjects. While you may be a math wizard, memorizing biology may seem impossible. Even if you’re a physics buff, you may never fully understand how to find standard deviations. These weaknesses make us nervous and often lead to us losing our cool during exam season.

If you find yourself losing your calm during exams, there are a few changes you can make, both before and during the exam, to help your case. If you figure out how to stay calm during a test, you can significantly improve your performance during exam season! Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

  1. Study Early, Study Often!

The best way to do well on an exam is to feel as if you’re going to do well. Feeling confident about the material is important when you sit down. In order to truly master the material, you’re going to have to study a lot to get everything down.

While most students may believe that cramming is a good idea, this is far from the case. Cramming prevents actual learning as you are simply stuffing information into your head for you to regurgitate. It is more important to truly learn the material by studying it over extended periods of time.

Give yourself at least a month or two of studying with the material you are being tested on, and you’ll feel much more confident going into exam season.

  1. Avoid the Red Bull

Though it may be tempting to buy a case of Red Bulls for the all-nighters, studies have shown that caffeine actually increases anxiety levels. This will leave you with your heart racing on exam day, and not in a good way.

If you can, avoid all-nighters altogether by spreading out your study time. If you need to stay up late, look to drink water or find ways to stimulate yourself without excessive caffeine use.

  1. Brain Food

Eating healthy can be crucial come exam season, as foods high in sugars and fats can actually make it harder for your brain to operate at its best. By investing in healthier options, such as cereals and whole grains, your brain can make the leap it needs to find those answer stuck in the back of your head.

  1. Think Positively

Thinking positively is the biggest key on how to stay calm during a test. If you truly picture yourself doing well on an exam, seeing “A’s” on your grade reports, and knowing all the answers, you will inherently do better.

Once exam day comes around, think positively about how well you’re going to answer every question. Even giving yourself a pep talk is not a bad idea!

  1. Sleep Well

If you want to be truly ready for your exam, your body and brain need to be ready too. In order to ensure that you have all systems running on exam day, be sure to get at least 6 hours of sleep, possibly more.

Sleep will help you process everything you learn and will store it in your long-term memory. Be careful not to oversleep, though, as this may leave you feeling groggy and slow on exam day.

  1. Work Your Body And Your Brain

When your body and brain work together, wonderful things can happen. In order to alleviate mental stress, look to add some physical stress to your routine. Working out has proven to keep people calm and get you thinking positively, through the release of endorphins.

  1. Treat Yourself

If you don’t have any gaps in knowledge, look to avoid studying the night before your exam. Instead, do something nice for yourself. Read a good book, spend time with friends, or take a relaxing walk.

The additional positive time and energy will translate into more positive thinking for yourself. In turn, you will feel less stressed come exam day. Instead, your brain will be set into a positive mindset that no exam could overcome!

On top of that, treat yourself by wearing your favorite (comfortable) clothes to exam day! Looking your best will leave you feeling your best, which can only translate to better days ahead!

  1. Breathe Easy

The easiest way to calm down in any situation is to take long, deep breaths. Easing your breathing will calm your heart rate and weaken your anxiety. In order to accomplish this, take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth.

With a few deep breaths, you will find that time starts to slow down and everything makes more sense. These few seconds of deep breaths can make a massive impact if you’re feeling anxious during the test.

  1. Wear Comfortable Clothing

In order to reduce the stress on your brain, don’t add any stress to your body. Come exam day, look to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Avoiding the physical discomfort of tight clothing is a huge step in avoiding mental discomfort.

Always look to bring a sweatshirt as well. This will prevent you from getting too cold during an exam, which is another form of physical discomfort. If you can, visit your testing location beforehand so you know what to expect.

  1. Focus on Yourself

If you become distracted by competing with everyone else, this competition adds another layer of anxiety. Feel free to motivate yourself like this, but come test day, focus on being the best student and test taker that you can be.

Don’t feel like you should look at other students’ papers to see how quickly they are going through the exam, and don’t get nervous when somebody finishes early. Everyone takes tests differently. Focus on your style and needs, and the good grades will follow.

Do You Know How To Stay Calm During a Test?

Not everyone learns how to stay calm during a test. But, those that do have a significant advantage during heavy exam periods. If you need help calming your anxiety, be sure to follow all, or most, of the tips above.

For more test taking, studying, and general learning tips, be sure to visit our website, especially if you’re looking to become a Radiologic Technologist!