1. Start The Meditation
Begin each study session with five to ten minutes of meditation. Focus on steady breathing and envision your test anxiety melting away and being replaced by calmness. You will be able to focus better with a clear mind. Also, meditation can help diffuse anxiety and improve focus long term. The more you practice, the calmer you will be. Check to see if your school provides a meditation workshop if you need help.
2. Take Naps
This might seem counter-intuitive, but your brain will retain the information you learned if you stop to take a power nap after a few hours of studying. Napping allows the brain to take a break and properly store useful information. Even if you can’t fall asleep mid-day, letting your mind power down can still be beneficial. Giving your brain the rest it needs will help lower test anxiety and remember everything you need.
3. Stay 72
You probably aren’t thinking about the temperature when you’re studying, but room temperature has been proven to have a significant effect on test results. Researchers found that 72 degrees are the most effective temperature for your brain to function. Try to pick an area where you aren’t feeling too cold or hot, and be sure to dress in layers so you can strip some off if the temperature changes. Rooms that are too cold cause your muscles to constrict in an effort to warm your body and this feeling can trigger anxiety.
4. Use Proper Lighting
Studying a dark room can make you feel drowsy and strain your eyes. Also, you should avoid studying with a desk lamp on. Light up the entire room if you’re going to have a study session at night. Be warned: Blue light is found in most electronics and fluorescent lights and emits a wavelength that keeps your brain stimulated. If you plan to study with a laptop or tablet, or under fluorescent lights, try to finish up and hour before you plan on getting to sleep. This will give your brain enough time to calm down from being stimulated. Lack of sleep can also trigger anxiety.
5. Use Your Olfactory Senses
This study hack is well-known but commonly neglected. Your olfactory senses (taste and smell) are the strongest senses tied to memory. During your study session, chew gum or spray yourself with your favorite cologne/perfume. Then, on the day of the test, wear the same scent or chew the same flavor of gum and it will help your brain recall the information you studied.
6. Create A Story
Our brains are programmed for storytelling because stories help us make sense of the world around us. It would be beneficial to make up a fun story about the test subject rather than read the material over and over again. Stories can build the foundation for your memory. The easier it is to recall test material, the lesser your anxiety will be.
7. Get Moving
Our brains crave movement and if your study sessions involve sitting for hours on end, you could be hurting your brains potential. Our brains are most alert and receptive to new information when we are active. After sitting more than thirty minutes, our brain activity decreases dramatically. Study better by getting up every half hour and walking around the room. Even better, move to a different table at the library or find a cafe nearby. This will keep your brain from becoming too lethargic to remember the information you need to pass your test.
8. Practice Test
It’s time to face your fears. If you’re becoming haunted by the test anxiety day and night, take a practice test. Create flashcards and ask a friend to quiz you, and even go to the place where the test will be taken. This will create a more comfortable environment when the test day arrives and will trick your brain into remembering what you learned during practice.