It is completely normal to be nervous before exams. They’re a big deal and are typically weighted very heavily towards your final grade. College life is all about how to handle pressure in a healthy manner that is productive and most importantly, effective. Many people experience stress or anxiety before exams but when it becomes so excessive that it interferes with performance on an exam, it’s known as test anxiety. So, what do you do if you get nervous before exams? The administration staff at Florida National University (FNU) wants to help you prepare for your exams without feeling nervous or stressed.
Six easy tips to reduce test anxiety:
1. Step Away from the Books
There is such a thing as over-studying. Spending too much time studying can exhaust your mind, bringing about fatigue. Fatigue can cause you to become unfocused, affecting your memory. When your memory is affected, this can bring about some frustration because you’re forgetting the things you already know. At this point, things have become stressful as anxiety has set in, and now you might be nervous because you think you’re going to fail your exam. All of this can be avoided if you take a break from the books for a few hours.
Stress creates anxiety and nervousness, which affect our breathing patterns. Exam nerves can also have this effect. Slow breathing can help manage nerves and avoid panic attacks. Stop and take a deep breath. Close your eyes, take at least 10 deep breaths while concentrating on your breathing.
While this may take some long-term commitment, there is a strong link between regular exercise and a sense of well-being that can reduce anxiety and help with stress. Regular exercise releases “feel-good” endorphins and takes your mind off worries, including the big exam coming up. The Mayo Clinic also states that regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits that can help you gain confidence. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing are some of the most recommended forms of exercise.
4. Fuel Your Brain
Often, students can get so caught up in studying for exams that they forget to take care of themselves. Your body needs food to operate. Food is energy for your body and mind. Anxiety and nervousness often stem from a poor diet. To avoid anxiety and nervousness, it’s important to:
- Have a well-balanced diet
- Avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol before the exam
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants
5. Prepare Yourself
At some point, you’ll have to return to the books and when you do, you’ll need to make sure that you’re organized. This may seem a little obvious, but if you feel confident you’re prepared, you’ll feel confident walking into the exam. After taking a break, exercising your body and your mind, then refueling yourself with a well-balanced diet, you’ll be able to attack your studies from a fresh angle and a new perspective. It is at this point you’ll be able to better organize your course work and notes so that when it’s time to take your exam, they’ll be easier to remember.
Sometimes, you just need to shut it all down and go to sleep. When you have a lot of information flowing around in your head and it’s difficult to make sense of it all, what you might need is a nice little power nap or even a good 8 hours’ worth of sleep. Just like your body needs food, your body also needs to recharge, which means getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. A lack of sleep can carry several negative symptoms including lessened affability, memory problems, diminished critical thinking skills, depression, anxiety, and nervousness. Try to get 7-8 hours of solid sleep each night to maintain good health and calm those exam nerves.
Break, Breathe, Exercise, Prepare, Sleep and Repeat
These six steps can be applied to more than just taking exams. Anytime you feel nervous or anxious about anything, you can apply any of these tips toward alleviating your nerves. Are you still feeling a little nervous before the exam? Florida National University is here to help. Contact the Academic Advising Center today. The primary purpose of the center is advising new and current students in the development of meaningful educational plans that are compatible with your life goals. Whether you’re planning your semester schedule, reviewing academic program requirements, or wondering how to approach a professor, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 305-821-3333 for more information.