Has this happened to you? You’ve studied for a test, you think you are ready and you sit down to take the test and your calm and confidence disappears. All the information seems to fly out of your head and you start second guessing yourself. You start hyperventilating because all the material looks like it is written in another language. This is not uncommon. Test anxiety is real, but there are ways to combat it.
Before test day, practice some deep breathing techniques. You might need to use these while waiting to start the test, or take a break in the middle to calm yourself.
Aromatherapy is also shown to help. There are many scents that instill calm and reduce stress. My favorite is eucalyptus & spearmint, though cedarwood & sage and sandalwood & rose combinations work well too (Bath & Body Works has some great options). Buy a small bottle of lotion that you can use on your hands before you go into the test room. Then periodically breathe in the scent to help calm your mind.
It’s a proven theory that body language can change your attitude. The Wonder Woman pose (yes, men can do it too) can reduce anxiety, improve your ability to deal with stress (like the upcoming test) and boost your confidence. Practicing this power pose before test day and the morning of the test can make a difference.
Sometimes you just need to regroup to focus – this could be at the start of the test or during it. Here’s a great technique I found. It works by making you close your eyes, breathe deeply and imagine yourself in happy, satisfying (non test!) situations. Once you finish, your mind will be clearer, your adrenalin levels will have dropped, and you should be able to refocus on the task at hand.
A friend recently told me that the morning before a presentation she repeats a personal mantra in the shower, reminding herself that she knows her stuff and that she’ll do a great job. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and need to say positive things out loud to quiet the negative self-talk that is often swirling around inside our head.
Tests are a necessary evil in life – anxiety and stress tend to come with them, but there are many ways to achieve calm and rechannel that energy. Try some of the techniques above and see if they work for you. I cannot guarantee you’ll pass the test, but at least you’ll be more relaxed and confident!
Carolyn has taken quite a few tests in her lifetime – she wishes she had some of these techniques in her ‘bag of tricks’ during her school years! She has used several of these methods effectively since then before tests and presentations with positive results. She shares some of these strategies and others with her students when helping them prepare for the CMP Exam. If you would like her to help with your CMP Exam Prep, click here.