Home » Self Improvement » Stress Management

Keeping A Handle On Stress

May 26, 2008
You may have always had problems with stress. Think back to your years in school, even elementary school. Did you get a little queasy and nervous the first time you faced a test which was graded? Perhaps you got tense and it was nearly impossible to concentrate on the task at hand. It only got worse when you received a poor grade on that test - you began to see yourself as a failure!

It didn't get much better as school went on, although by then you'd taken plenty of tests. This went on right up to your SAT tests. You couldn't focus on the questions - your mind went blank at crucial moments. You found yourself taking and retaking your SAT's with stress knocking you down every time.

Certainly taking a test can be a very stressful experience. Whether you are a very young student, or are in college a test can be nerve wracking. Tests decide whether not you advance and whether or not you'll graduate! Education is vital to success in your professional life. A test can really be a stumbling block if you have a problem handling the stress of these important events.

There will always be some stress involved in taking any test. You can take measures to minimize the amount of stress that you experience and reduce its disruptive effect. One good step is to take a prep course for taking any important tests you have coming up. Test preparation courses for the SAT and ACT tests are widely available and can help you keep your cool when it comes time for the real thing. You'll learn some useful strategies in these courses such as answering the easiest questions first, pacing and most importantly, not panicking. These are the tools you'll need to take any test.

Practice tests are of great help to many students preparing for a big exam. The questions on a practice test won't be the same as one the real test, but should be similar enough that you'll be prepared and know what to expect when you actually take the exam.

Getting adequate sleep the night before a test is important. Being tired can make it even more difficult to concentrate. Being fatigued may also make you feel frustrated during the exam - which means a lower score for you. Arriving for an exam well rested will help you to do your best.

Nutrition is also key to doing well on exams and keeping your stress levels low. Sugar is not the friend of a student. It leads to a "crash", which will make it difficult to concentrate. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains is the way to go to prepare your body and mind for taking a test.

Having a tutor can be helpful as well. A tutor will help you to stay focused while you study; this will improve your study skills all around and will offer you support on being prepared for that upcoming exam. Having someone to help you prepare can give you the confidence you need to keep stress at bay when taking a big test.

Similarly, a mentor may be something you want to seek out. A mentor is something like a coach, working to buildup your confidence. You can learn by your mentor's example - he or she can tell you how they became successful. With a mentor in your corner, you may find your stress level about this test greatly reduced.

Test taking is a skill. Since it is a skill, this means that it can be learned; something which should put your mind at ease. You can take some time to study test taking in general and thereby become much better at taking any test. Keep in mind that you're not going to ace every test you ever take. You're going to need determination and patience to get through this and become a better test taker. Eventually, test taking will be a skill which you have a solid grasp of - and then your test taking stress will melt away.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of My-Personal-Growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development.
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