Overcoming Test Anxiety
We've talked a lot in this chapter about not falling victim to a case of the nerves, or becoming so anxious/nervous that you can't utilizeto your maximum potentialall the great preparation and work you've put into studying for the test.
Although there is no guarantee you won't be nervous, remember again that a little nervousness can be a good thing: It can keep you focused on the task at hand. Still, consider the following suggestions for overcoming test anxiety:
The best defense is a good offenseThis is especially true when it comes to dealing with text anxiety. Make sure you are well prepared for the test. Study in advance, and don't cram the night before. Bottom line: Walk into the testing center confident that you will perform to the best of your ability.
Avoid caffeine overdoseTake it easy on the caffeine, especially if you are not a morning person to begin with, or if you don't normally drink lots of caffeine. Too much Mountain Dew/coffee/insert-favorite-caffeinated-beverage-here can make you very jittery. On the other hand, if you always have a cup of java in the morning, don't risk caffeine withdrawal symptoms (translation: very bad headache) by not having it.
Don't forget to breatheRemember that breathing is a necessary component of that thing we call living, so if you find yourself panting or hyperventilating, take some deep breaths and relax. Stay focused on the task at hand, and remember how well prepared you are.
Make some time to get nervous after the testYes, you read that right: Give yourself permission to be nervous/freak out/yell/scream/and so on after the test. Seriously, if you make part of the test-taking process a "cool down" session, you'll be surprised to find this might take away a great deal of your pre-test (and during the test) anxiety. One idea is to have a favorite CD loaded in your car, so as you drive away from the test center, you can rock out (or mellow out, depending on your preference) and release all that anxiety. Although not directly related to the test itself, if you can plan for this type of releaseand in turn it keeps you from becoming overly nervous during the examthen it will be well worth it.