8 Tips for Dealing with Exam Anxiety – From a Student
You're prepped and geared up for the exam coming up. But what's that? A trickle of sweat across your forehead, and suddenly your hands start to feel sweaty.
It's exam day, and you begin to spiral into anxiousness. Your thoughts are racing, concentrating seems impossible, and symptoms like a fast heartbeat, headache, or nausea will make you look for the exit.
Is exam anxiety a thing?
Test anxiety stems from a fear of failing, lack of prep, or bad test experiences that cloud your mind. Plus, everything seems larger-than-life and more dramatic on exam day.
Taking a challenging exam like the GMAT doesn't help you keep your cool, but with a go-to routine, stress can be left on the wayside. We sat down to talk with one of our students, Giuseppe. Our conversation gave us an inside scoop on how he managed anxiety on that ever-so-important GMAT exam day, with insightful ways to ban anxiety for good.
Now let's review and memorize eight tips to smash exam day, overcome test anxiety, and get into exam mode.
Say farewell to anxiety by hitting the books
Are you struggling? Nothing spells disaster like sitting an exam knowing you will bomb it. Prepare yourself for exams thoroughly by looking through questions or concepts. During our chat with Giuseppe, he shared that GMAT Test Prep experts at 700+Club helped him shine on exam day with top study tips. With careful prep, you can also strut your stuff on test day, ready to ace the test.
Overcome anxiety by connecting with a study buddy
Going through a grueling study schedule on your own can be exhausting. That's why Giuseppe chimed in his buddy system for studying. He expressed, “Studying with others going through a similar experience can be encouraging and reassuring during a stressful time.”
We recommend you link up with your study buddy to plan your study schedule to tackle your exam. Don't fret! It's not only work and no fun. Make sure to prioritize self-care with your study buddy by cooking a healthy meal post-study session or doing a relaxing activity together. Resting and recharging your mind will always get the best results in reducing exam anxiety.
Pro tip: If others are making you anxious, taking a break from them is also acceptable.
Put anxiety to rest with sleep
Have you ever tried being productive after staying up late watching silly TikToks? I think not! Giuseppe suggests getting to bed early for a good night's sleep before exam day and catching enough Zs. Getting a good night's rest is essential to have your brain sharp on exam day. Put on your comfy pajamas, sip some chamomile tea, and go off to slumber land, where you always get the perfect score.
Fuel up on breakfast, not anxiety
After your good night's rest, now your body is asking for some delicious fuel to power your brain. Avoid your favorite sugary cereal, so put away the Fruit Loops. Try and whip up Giuseppe's breakfast favorite protein-packed meals like oatmeal with peanut butter or an egg sandwich on whole-grain bread.
Pro tip: Pack healthy snacks on exam day to keep you going.
Avoid anxiety symptoms and head out early for your exam
Nothing is worse for mental health than feeling stressed about an exam and then adding to it by barely making it on time. Being in a rush is going to set off your anxiety. To avoid that, set the alarm for when you must head out on your phone or "make Alexa remind you," as told by Giuseppe.
Pro tip: Save time on the morning of your exam by packing up whatever you need for your exam. Whether that's snacks, pencils, or a calculator, make your you're good to go and remember everything.
Banish anxiety with positive affirmations
For people that suffer from anxiety, jumping to negative thoughts and self-statements like "I'm stupid" or "I'm going to fail" can be a cinch. Repeating these kinds of statements can spark your feelings of anxiety and threaten your ability to take an exam successfully.
You must get in the right head space on the big day to ace that test. Giuseppe filled us on on some of his morale-boosting mantras like "I got this" or "I studied hard for this," which he repeats to himself before a test. Take note and repeat some mantras when you wake up in front of the mirror and right before the test.
Steer clear of anxiety by going through the test
Before deciding or beginning your test, Giuseppe tells us to read the instructions carefully and all the answers. Sounds simple! But you'd be surprised how your nerves get the best of you and make you slip up.
Giuseppe highlighted, "Nothing is more frustrating than spending time on a question only to discover that you've got everything all twisted!”
Stay focused and keep your head in the game by slowing down. Think tortoise energy for the exam, not the hare.
Seek psychological support for exam stress and anxiety
Asking for help is brave if your anxiety is getting out of hand and affecting your performance in daily life. A therapist or specialist can give you the tools to help you succeed and be in the right mindset on exam day. If you want to simplify things, try a session with an online therapist for convenience and ease.
Once you start your sessions, your therapist will provide exercises like deep breathing to slow down a beating heart or a racing mind. Practice makes perfect, so with ongoing therapy and implementing deep breathing techniques on your own – you'll be set for test day.
Reminder: You'll indeed have a bit of test-taking anxiety. That's normal. Our tips can help settle your mind and nerves.
Your future anxiety-free test-taking journey
Test-taking is fun – said no one ever. It takes tons of prep and practice to feel ready on the big day when taking the GMAT.
Everyone is different, but stress reduction techniques are a game of trial and error to determine what works best for you to maximize your results. We hope some of Giuseppe's tips help you discover your go-to test-taking strategy.