Dear Liz, In a couple of weeks I will be taking a biology certification exam to teach. I am not the best test taker. Do you recommend any ways I can relax during the exam?
Hi Pittsburgh, thanks for writing in. I hope I can help. There are several ideas for you to consider in terms of relaxing during, and more importantly, perhaps, before you take your exam. Consider some of the following.
1.Obvious but important not to forget is the notion that you will feel more relaxed if you feel well prepared for the exam. Make all efforts to not wait until the last minute, or cram. You want to prepare strategically over time for the big day. In fact, don’t even look at any of the material the hour before so you can focus on staying relaxed. Think about drawing from inside yourself without lockage by the dreaded anxiety. You know what you know, you just have to believe it!
2. Age-old, but SO EFFECTIVE, is breathing. Practice deep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth before the test. Then, as you begin to feel the nerves come on, focus on that type of breathing. During the taking of the test, if you feel anxious, you can think and breathe deeply at the same time. This will bring down your heart rate, and help get rid of wandering nervous thoughts. FOCUS is key, concentrated deep breathing will help you find your focus zone.
3. Arrive early, double check the location and do everything possible to avoid any unnecessary added stress. (Being late, having to go to the bathroom, hunger, any personal drama…don’t allow it the day of the test!) Go over what you need to bring well before you go- have it all ready the day of the test.
4. Most importantly, think of maintaining control over your stress and its ability to sabotage you as a challenge to which you will not take no for an answer. You know stress is created in your mind , but you do have the same power over it not seeping into and effecting the success of your results as well. Don’t forget that!
Think it all through carefully and change your mind and your pattern right now. In fact, stop thinking that you get nervous before tests—say it out loud!
In general, I highly recommend everyone face an obstacle such as this, and make a plan to face it at least a few times a year. It’s great for growth, self knowledge and the belief we create in the power we have over our lives.
GOOD LUCK… I’m sure you will find your way to success.