Stress Management System


  Relaxing and keeping control of stress are critical aspects to successful test taking. The best method, time, and place to relax are, of course, dependent on each individual person. However, there are a couple of general things you can do reduce tension and promote a feeling of confidence.


  Whether it's jogging, walking, biking or aerobics, physical exercise is a very effective way to stimulate both your mind and body and improve your ability to think and concentrate. Ironically, many students get out of the habit of regular exercise precisely because they're too busy preparing for exams. But, even the slightest physical activity helps reduce the stress and frustration associated with studying for an important exam.

A cautionary tale... Exercise is a natural high. Unfortunately, some students resort to less-than-natural stimulants in an attempt to enhance their performance on the test. But consider yourself warned: Uppers or amphetamines make it hard to retain information. You may stay awake, but you probably won't remember very much. Mild stimulants such as coffee, colas, etc. can sometimes help as they keep you awake and alert. On the downside, though, they can lead to agitation, restlessness, and insomnia. You know your tolerance for caffeine best.

The best method, of course, is to go into the test naturally. Get exercise, plenty of rest and you'll start the test feeling relaxed, rested, and ready to pass.


  The best test takers do less and less as the test approaches. Taper off your study schedule and take it easy on yourself. You want to be relaxed and ready on the day of the test. Give yourself some time off, especially the night before the exam. By that time, if you've prepared well, everything you need to know will be firmly stored in your memory bank.

To reduce the chance of any last minute tension and anxiety, have everything laid out in advance. Most important, know where the test will be administered and map the easiest, quickest way to get there. You will gain great peace of mind if you know that all the little details — gas in the car, directions, etc. — are completely in your control before the day of the test. In addition, go to the test site a few days in advance. Familiarity generates comfort and confidence.

Finally, forego any practice on the day before the test. Try to keep the test out of your consciousness by going to a movie, taking a walk, etc. And most importantly get plenty of rest. It's in your best interest to marshal your physical and psychological resources before the exam.

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