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Stress Before You Test?

Battle the Test Day Jitters


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The key to battling test-day jitters is thorough preparation! But full preparation means more than knowing the test material. It's important to prepare your mind and body for the experience of working under pressure.

Get some Sleep: I know you've heard this before, but it's often repeated because it's so important. Get plenty of sleep the night before the test! If you don't have enough rest, you'll find it much harder to concentrate. A sleepy brain is a foggy brain!

Getting enough sleep the night before a test takes some planning. Get up extra early the day before your test, and you won't have trouble going to sleep on time.

Leave Early. Be sure to leave earlier than normal on the day of a test to avoid the added fear of arriving late. Walking in to an exam late is the last thing you need! The embarrassment will cause you to be distracted and lose valuable time.

You don't need the extra worry caused by heavy traffic or bad road conditions. Think about your journey the night before. Are there likely to be any time-consuming problems? It's best to just arrive early and give yourself some calm time.

Eat something--even if you're nervous. Next, be sure your tummy is happy! If you're too nervous to eat before you leave the house, grab a banana or a bagel and have it ready in case your stomach growls just before you enter the building. Hunger is distracting in itself, but the added embarrassment of a rumbling stomach will break your concentration. You might also find time for a quick bite during a break.

Take a Quiet Moment. Once you arrive at school or at the testing center, find a quiet space where you can be all alone. You can use your car if you drive, or you can find an empty locker room or office (ask a teacher).

Once you locate a quiet place, do a relaxation session. Close your eyes and try to relax completely. Take deep breaths and think calming thoughts.

Sometimes it's not a good idea to talk with other students in the minutes before a test, because some students start to stress out as other students discuss the material. When you hear others chatting it might sound like you skipped over something important or you misunderstood a concept. It's probably not even true--but it can seem like it!

If this sounds like you, just don't let yourself get into that situation. Isolate yourself from others a bit and try not to listen as other students warm up.

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