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During test taking, attitude is everything. Beginning your test day with a feeling of confidence can make all the difference. The key to confidence is knowing that you are prepared. Not only does this imply that you have studied and know the material, but also that you have practiced testing and know the types of questions that will be on the test.
Preparation is not just about what is on the test, but also knowing how a test is scored. Beginning with the end in mind always brings the results you are looking for. Know what score you are shooting for. Preparation also means that you are well rested, have eaten a nutritious meal, and that your pencils and erasers are ready.
Our minds are much more powerful than many people realize. Visualization of success is a powerful strategy that is underemployed by most. Imagine yourself calmly working through the test and passing the exam. Feel how comfortably you can work through the questions, how smoothly you pencil moves, and how dry your palms are because you are not the least bit nervous. On the day of the test, recall this visualization and make it your reality.
Be gentle with your words. Speak to yourself with positive words and phrases. It is easier to perform well when you are being encouraged and not being beaten down. Self talk is often a self-fulfilling prophecy and your thought life should be guarded.
Anxiety is made worse by poor breathing techniques. Learn to breath deeply and slowly. Yoga practice and many relaxation methods employ breathing as a primary tool to get the body under control. If you start to feel your body tense, take a deep breath and let it out slowly releasing all of your body tension along with it.
Practice being fully present. Our minds have a way of thinking the worst and imagining a bad outcome making mountains out of mole hills. Focusing on the task at hand and not letting the mind imagine the future will prevent testing anxiety. Focus on how the chair feels under you, or touch your clothing and focus on that sensation. Keep your mind in the present and it will not imagine the worst.
Test anxiety is important to overcome since testing is one of the key ways our society measures success and gives you a chance to show that you know the material. Be prepared and do your best.