Law school can take a toll on your health in many ways. The classes can stress you out, the professors can be unreasonable, and the reading can be extensive. However, the real stress can lie in the most important part of your law school career: the exams. It’s not uncommon for law students to experience test anxiety, especially towards graduation. The pressures of doing well on a test can be overwhelming and even cause the opposite affect if anxiety gets to be too high.
But instead of fearing each upcoming test, which will surely get your worried before you even step in the door, there are several actions to take to keep your stress at bay even during the hardest exams. Keep in mind that test anxiety is only a state of mind, which can be completely controlled with enough preparation and clever thinking.
Study Ahead Of Time
Most of these anti-anxiety tips will be about eliminating any outside problems that can ruin your mood on test day. However, none of them will matter if you don’t follow this first and very important step: studying. All the anti-anxiety pills in the world can’t help you pass a test you didn’t study for. So before you start panicking about anything else, prepare your mind with the proper knowledge. Arm it with the notes you took in class, the reading over the course of the semester, and any additional study materials your professors gave you. Once you have the right information in your head, the rest is about staying calm. Oh, and don’t do all your studying the night before. The next point is going to tell you why.
Get Some Sleep
When a stressful situation is about to come up, your body needs to be just as prepared as your mind does. If you pull an all-nighter, you’ll fry your brain and fatigue your muscles. Since you didn’t get the recharge you needed at the time you needed it, your body will pick a time for you and it just might be during the test. That’s why you should study well in advance so you can get your full eight hours the night before the test. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to go when you wake up.
Curbing test anxiety is also about eating right. Your body needs to stay nourished and healthy during a stressful time so it doesn’t hold you back. Eat healthy snacks while studying so you don’t feel bloated or sick during crucial hours. Also, eat a healthy breakfast on the day of the test…and that doesn’t mean five cups of coffee. In fact, adding caffeine to an already stressful day can really get your nerves going. Cutting the caffeine for the day will eliminate any additional jitters that can get in the way of your good grades.
Arrive Early & Prepared
You should plan to arrive at the testing room early so you can get situated and make sure you have everything you need. You can pick the most comfortable seat in the room and settle in before all the students come crashing in. This is another way to eliminate any outside problems by ensuring you don’t get that hot and cramped corner all the way in the back of the test room. Also, come prepared, or even a little more so. Have a few extra pencils and pens, spare batteries for a calculator, and some a few more pieces of paper. Just in case.
Don’t Dwell On Tough Questions
During the test, manage your stress level by passing on questions that are stumping you. Move on to questions that you feel confident in answering and you’ll be giving yourself an immediate confidence boost. You’ll also be managing your time wisely this way. If you finish your test before time is up, go back to the tough questions and do your best to answer them. Since you will already have most of the test out of the way, you won’t have as much to worry about.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
If stress is setting in and your palms are starting to sweat, take a quick time out. Chances are you’re not breathing adequately enough to give your body the proper tools to work with. So if you’re feeling flustered or lightheaded, put your pencil down, take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale a deep breath from your mouth. Do this several times until you feel your heart rate return back to normal. A little oxygen will go a long way.
Exams can feel like life or death situations for law school students but in reality, they’re just a bunch of questions on pieces of paper. The test process can be easy and stress-free if you give your mind the right knowledge and your body enough rest and comfort. With these tools in place, there’s no test you can’t breeze through.