Taking a comprehensive, career-critical exam has an effect on people. Some people become a little anxious; some become very anxious. But regardless of which camp you’re in, here are my 7 tips for how to beat test anxiety before your big exam day.
1. Reassure yourself you’ve done it “all”
This is probably my best strategy for staying calm.
In the past 6 or 7 years, I’ve written more than 3,800 lactation-related multiple-choice test items. And that’s not counting the ones I wrote before I started counting — or the ones I’ve trashed! Since I wrote those test items, I had to write all of the answers, too!
I tell myself that if I’ve tackled that many items that covered all 105 subtopics on the real exam, I probably know it “all.” I say “all” even though I don’t think it’s possible to know it all.
But if I know enough of “all” of it, I can face the exam confidently.
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Think about it. The reason you’re anxious is that you’re worried you won’t know the answers. If you feel like you know it “all” you’re more likely to settle down.
2. Talk to yourself
I’m not kidding.
I read Shad Helmstetter’s book, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. It gave me some clear insights into the destructive effects of negative self-talk. Hence, I stopped doing that.
Conversely, he shows the benefits of positive self-talk. If you’re wondering how to beat test anxiety, spend a few dollars to buy the book and a couple of hours reading it.
This book helped me to be aware of different levels of self-talk, and how to become aware of my own constant self-talk.
But I also remind myself of what Henry Ford said which is equally as important:
Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.
3. Use apps designed for reducing anxiety
I had an over-full day of appointments and obligations yesterday, so I started my day using my favorite app, Pranayama. I use it before any stressful situation.
Pranayama is an ancient technique that originated thousands of years ago in India. The app gives “tones” so that you stay on track with the breathing, and thereby, the relaxation.
I felt different after using the technique the very first time many years ago. But I can assure you that if you repeat it daily, or several times a day, the relaxation effects will intensify.
4. Try hypnosis
You’ve heard me explain why I believe in hypnosis and why you should, too.
Honestly, I’ve never used hypnosis specifically for test anxiety. But if you want to know how to beat test anxiety, consider buying Barrie St. John’s hypnosis download Exam Success.
I’ve used Max Kirsten’s Relax Now hundreds or perhaps thousands of times. I paid money for it! But for a limited time, you can get it as a free download. Don’t miss this fabulous resource!
To get its powerful effects, picture in your mind’s eye what happens after you pass the exam:
- Use a paper and pencil and make a mock “letter” from IBLCE™ that has the word PASS in big letters at the top. Put it on your refrigerator, and gaze at it frequently.
- Get a private notebook and write, many times, your name with IBCLC™ after it. Sounds crazy, but as soon as you start to see yourself like that, it affects your sense of self.
- Give yourself a positive affirmation, several times a day. (Similar to, but slightly different than self-talk.) “I am a totally smart person who can pass this exam.”
When you think about how to beat test anxiety, this visualization stuff just makes sense, right? If you see yourself as successful, then your anxiety is more likely to dissipate.
And by the way, this is not fake-it-til you-make it. It’s closer to be-it-to-believe-it.
6. Listen to music
Music is either low-cost or no-cost.
Here, I’ve explained how science has proven that music has a positive effect on infants and mothers. Now, I want to urge you to try it for yourself.
7. Get expert help
Yes, I’m your go-to gal for this.
I’ve given my live Lactation Exam Review over 150 times. Thousands of people from six continents who have attended it, and gone on to pass the exam. Now, you can get the online version of my Lactation Exam Review, modeled after the live version.
Understand, past results do not predict future success! But I urge you to at least take a look at it and see if this course will work for you.
Not up for the structured, at-your-own-pace, in-home course? Okay, how about signing up for Mondays with Marie (it’s free and you get live help from me!).
Now that you know how to beat test anxiety, which resource appeals to you most? Let me know in the comments below?