Nerves and an anxious feeling are completely normal before taking a test. But sometimes, those nerves can get the best of you, leading you to have severe testing anxiety. With this level of stress comes racing thoughts, the inability to concentrate, and feelings of dread. You might also experience lightheadedness, nausea, or a fast heart rate. All of these feelings can be extremely debilitating when it comes time to take your test.

Our goal at Brain Forest Centers is to help all superheroes experience peak performance through neurofeedback therapy. Whether you’re preparing for the ACT or the Bar Exam, we know that testing anxiety can derail weeks of hard work and studying. So, here are several tips to help calm those nerves.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Choosing to study all in one night or trying to pull an all-nighter the night before an exam is a surefire way to exacerbate your nerves. If you think you’re stressed now, then waiting until the last minute and failing to get a good night’s sleep is a recipe for disaster. Instead, study for your exam days or even weeks in advance, breaking up the information into small study sessions, and then shoot for 9-10 hours of sleep the night before. Being well rested will improve your focus and ensure that you can recall the information you need quickly and efficiently, despite your nervous feelings.

Be Prepared

Being prepared for a big exam doesn’t just include studying and putting in the work ahead of time. It also means preparing yourself for the day of the test so that you feel your best. For example, many people find that when they leave enough time for breakfast or a shower on a test day, they feel more relaxed and ready for the exam. You might even consider laying out your favorite outfit to help you feel your best. When you prepare mentally and physically, you set yourself up for success, and you will feel confident walking into the testing room.

Arrive Early

If you can, plan to arrive at your testing site early. Your early arrival will give you the time needed to calm any lingering nerves or provide you with time to go to the restroom before starting the test. Feeling rushed to get to your test will only amp you up and make you feel less prepared than if you had arrived well before the exam. This also gives you time to review your notes one last time, double-check your pencils or pens, and prepare your calculator should you need one for the exam. 

Focus on Calm Breathing

Test anxiety can make you feel short of breath, which can further limit the amount of oxygen flowing to your brain. You might also feel tension in your shoulders, causing you to feel restless during the test. Before the exam begins, practice some deep breathing techniques to relieve any of that tension and flood your mind with positive thinking. This practice will help clear your mind and allow you to shift focus away from the anxiety and onto the test.

Conquer Test Anxiety with Neurofeedback

Anxiety is a real emotion and feeling, but for many it can be debilitating. Anxiety can make you forgetful, feel scatterbrained, and lead to depression or even severe migraines if not treated. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to medications, turn to neurofeedback therapy from Brain Forest Centers. We’ll create a brain map and a personalized therapy program designed to retrain your brain and the neuropathways that lead to anxious thoughts and feelings. We can also help treat your PTSD or leaky gut, which can both contribute to test anxiety. Give us a call today at (317) 288-9828.