It’s exam day. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Most people envision the day of the big test – SAT, ACT, GRE, etc. – as a day of stress, pain, anguish, anxiety, and all kinds of other intense, not-so-happy emotions. Put such nonsense out of your mind. Test taking, like any life event, is exactly what you make of it. And there’s plenty of ways in which you can prepare beforehand in order to make exam go beautifully. Those who wind up stressed out and landing less than stellar test results made one huge universal flaw: they didn’t prepare. Don’t make the same mistake on your big day.
You’ve already studied the course material, and have likely poured hours into the process of memorizing the required information. But on the day of the test itself, there’s still more prep work to take on if you want to be hugely successful.
First, sleep. Don’t just grab a few nervous hours of shut-eye, ensure that you get at least eight hours of restful slumber, and you’ll already be ahead of the game. Try and avoid any usage of sleeping aids, as they can make you unnecessarily groggy when you awake. Just get to bed early and relax – if you’re already studied your materials, there’s no reason to fret.
When you awake, be sure and have a healthy, balanced breakfast. Your brain and body need food to function at its peak, so grab a good meal, and do so in a peaceful environment. Envision yourself at the end of the exam, feeling fantastic about your efforts. Setting a strong and positive intention for the day, and feeling truly confident in your abilities to ace the test are just as critical as the tangible sustenance you consume. It’s been shown in many medical studies that positive thinking and maintaining a true belief that you will be successful in your endeavors create a very powerful force. Feed your body, brain, and spirit, and you’re already on the way to success.
It’s also advisable to piece together all the materials you’ll need for the exam the night before. Books, papers, pens and pencils, lucky charms; anything you don’t want to forget as you race out the door should be accounted for prior to sleep time. When the pressure hits in the AM, you’ll be very glad all your ducks were in a row, and it may even help you sleep easier. Map out the directions from your residence to the exam location. Know exactly what room and instructor you’ll need to report to. These things sound elementary and simple, but you’ll likely be dealing with a great deal of stress on the big day, so forgetfulness on these little details is a high possibility. Preparation the night before can eliminate any last minute mistakes.
Lastly, don’t, under any circumstances, wait until the night before or day of the exam to complete your studies. Any information you attempt to obtain at the eleventh hour in this fashion is likely to never fully be processed anyway, and trying to get in last minute memorizations is a sure fire way to send yourself into the anxiety stratosphere. Take the time to study in a stress free atmosphere long before the actual test time.
If you’ve allotted plenty of time for studying the materials, get a good night’s sleep, and nourish your mind, body, and spirit on the day of the exam, you’re giving yourself the absolute best opportunity to land an awesome score. Missing the beat on any of these essential elements will just add undo pressure, and increase your chances at a lower test score not because you’re not intelligent, but because you simply didn’t prepare. Let your score reflect your knowledge, not your lack of preparation.