If you are still biting nails and pacing the floor about exams, you may need to take another quick personal inventory and see if there are some small changes in personal habits or lifestyle that can help with these feelings of nervousness and anxiety prior to an exam. You will recall that it is your goal to arrive at the exam site twenty or thirty minutes before exam time, well-rested and ready to go.
If your exam is a morning exam, you should have had your usual half-way nutritious breakfast, maybe after a brisk fifteen minute walk just to wake up and get the blood flowing. If you are a coffee drinker one cup is sufficient. These are the kinds of things you need to look at that may be contributing to your nervousness and anxiety: Four or five cups of coffee before an exam in the morning is just feeding the frenzy. Make it even worse if you care to and add a quarter cup of sugar to each cup of coffee. That will really set things off! Get the picture? Moderation in all stimulants is a good rule for life. Make sure that you are not unconsciously making matters worse with these kinds of bad habits.
Once you have arrived at the exam site avoid last minute cramming with your peers. Think pleasant thoughts and try to relax. Some nervousness and butterflies in the stomach are normal and are good signs that you are awake and alert, so don't worry about those feelings. You may want to enjoy a piece of peppermint candy or breath mint, which some students think opens their sinuses and provides more oxygen to the brain. Take a few deep breaths and enjoy some small talk with some friends before entering the exam room. Tensing and relaxing muscles tends to help your body relax some as well.
Once you enter the exam room you may want to choose a seat near the front of the room to keep distractions to a minimum. Plan to use all of the time offered for the test. Don't get nervous if you see people get up and leave and turn in their examination forms. They may have given up on completing the test and decided to leave early. They may have rushed through and mistakenly omitted part of the test. You are not concerned with other people. You are working for yourself and working to do your best. So use all the time available, if needed, and go over anything you feel tentative about. Then turn in your exam and go merrily on your way, knowing that you gave it your best shot. The world awaits. Go and seize the day in another area and don't worry about the results of this exam until you get them.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013