You’ve prepared well, you’ve done what you could to reduce your stress leading up to it, and now it’s time to go in and take the test.
This is the time when it’s most important to stay calm and focused, so everything you know and understand about the test subject can come flowing out.
That’s easier said than done, so here are some tips to keep in mind.
Remember to Breathe
Your body will become tense, leading to more psychological stress, if your breathing is shallow and fast. Before you begin the test, close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This type of breathing will help slow your heart rate and calm your nerves.
Anytime you start to feel anxious or panicky during the test, stop and repeat this breathing exercise.
Put the Test in Perspective
Remind yourself that you aren’t in any physical danger. Your body reacts to all stress the same, whether it’s a physical threat or not. So it can help you calm down to remember that you are not in any danger; it’s just a test, and no matter what happens, you will be fine.
Don’t allow your thoughts to become fatalistic, assuming that you are going to do poorly. Use positive affirmations, and stay upbeat.
The moment you start to think that you aren’t going to do well on the test, you trigger a cycle of anxiety that doesn’t allow you to relax and think through the answers.
Read the Questions Carefully
Don’t go through the test too quickly. Read the questions slowly, and reread them if you need to. Be sure you understand the question completely before you attempt to answer it.
If you come upon a question that confuses you, don’t allow yourself to feel anxious. Take a deep breath, and move on to the next question. Come back to the confusing question later.
Ignore Others and Focus on Your Own Experience
Some people can become anxious if they see others starting to turn in their tests while they themselves still have many questions to answer. Don’t fall into that trap. Ignore the people around you, and focus on your own experience.
Check Yourself Periodically
At intervals as you take the test, take a moment to check in with your body. Do you feel tense anywhere? If so, relax that area. Common areas of the body that hold tension during tests are the forehead and shoulders. Be sure to keep those and all other areas of your body loose and relaxed.
Keep yourself comfortable in your chair; do what you can to maintain good posture and loose muscles, so you don’t hold tension in your body which will translate to mental anxiety.