ACE THE TEST: Keep your cool during the entrance exam

May 02, 2011
There comes a point when you've done all the studying that you can do for any entrance exam, which is part of the admissions process. Here is some advice about how to reduce your stress before and during the test so that you make the most of all the preparation you have done.

One week before the exam: Begin light reviews of all the material. Use the tools that you expect to use on test day and take light and warm-up practice tests to boost your confidence.
The night before the exam: Ensure you have all necessary stationery - pencils, erasers, sharpener, and most importantly your exam slip. Then put the books and pencils down and relax. Take a walk or get some exercise and eat well.

Get 8 hours of sleep and plan on allowing yourself plenty of time to get up and get ready before you need to be at the test center. You should plan on being there at least 30 minutes before your exam begins.

The morning of the exam
Have a light breakfast: sandwiches, cereal or fruits. Don't drink too much liquid (to avoid unnecessary visits to the washroom). Eat a light breakfast and pack a snack for any break time. Do not eat or drink unfamiliar things that morning and avoid stimulants, such as coffee, tea and fizzy drinks, which may increase your anxiety. Small amounts of protein can give you an energy boost.

During the test
    Remain focused: If you get stuck on a question because it seems difficult or confusing, move on to the next and return to the tough questions later on. Consider ear plugs if you are easily distracted.
    Think positively: Believe in yourself. If you prepare for the exams properly you should do fine, meaning that there is no need to worry excessively. Sit up straight and smile, you will feel a bit better straight away. Give yourself some mental pep-talk.
    Don't try to be perfect. It's great to succeed and reach for the stars. But keep things in balance. If you think that "anything less than a perfect score means I've failed" then you are creating mountains of unnecessary stress for yourself.
    Avoid panic. The quickest and most effective way of eliminating feelings of stress and panic is to close your eyes and take several long, slow deep breaths. It's natural to feel some exam nerves prior to starting the exam, but getting excessively nervous is counterproductive.
    Read the instructions on your exam paper and if you are unsure about anything, don't hesitate to ask the invigilator (that's why they are there).

After the exam Don't spend endless time criticizing yourself for where you think you went wrong. Often self-assessment is much too harsh. Congratulate yourself for the things you did right, learn from the bits where you know you could have done better, and then move on.

Source: Aristotle Circle