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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Chebat

How to Manage Test Anxiety and Perform Your Best on Exam Day


A man stressing with work in front of him

Exam day can be a nerve-wracking experience, whether you're preparing for the SAT/ACT, a college midterm, or a high school final. Test anxiety is real, but with the right strategies, you can manage it and perform your best. Here are some general tips that will help you face exam day with confidence and calm.


1. Sleep - Consistency is Key

It's no secret that sleep is crucial for cognitive function and overall well-being, especially before an exam. However, acknowledging that you probably won't sleep well the night before your exam is important. Instead of stressing over that one night's sleep, focus on establishing a consistent sleep routine in the days leading up to your test.


Tip: Aim to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night for at least three nights before your exam. This consistency will help your body and mind stay sharp and reduce pre-exam jitters.


2. Read a Book Before Bed

Need a natural way to fall asleep? Forget melatonin – try reading a book! There's something almost magical about how reading can make you drowsy. Of course, this doesn't mean you should dive into a thrilling novel that keeps you up all night. Choose something more mundane to help you drift off.


Tip: Pick up that boring history book or a dense piece of literature. Before you know it, you'll be nodding off in no time, ready to get the rest you need.


3. Build Your Confidence

Confidence is your secret weapon against test anxiety. Remember that your preparation has put you in a strong position to succeed. While test day anxiety is inevitable, how you manage it makes all the difference.


Tip: Embrace the nerves and recognize that feeling anxious is normal. Focus on your preparation and trust that it has equipped you well. Remind yourself of the hard work and effort you've put in, and let that build your confidence. By controlling how you let anxiety affect you, you can perform at your best.


Managing test anxiety is all about preparation, routine, and mindset. You can approach any exam with a calm and focused mind by establishing good sleep habits, finding natural ways to relax, and fostering confidence in your abilities. Remember, everyone feels anxious, but with these tips, you can turn that anxiety into a tool for success.


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