6 Effective Ways on How to Overcome Test Anxiety

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve set your FE exam date a few months from now, made a study plan, been studying very hard and doing practice problems, taking practice exams, but when the exam day is finally here, you went into the exam room and your mind went blank? 

This is a typical sign of test anxiety and nerves and many students go through this. So how can you overcome that? Keep reading as I share with you 6 effective ways that helped me and many of my students overcome test anxiety.

What is test anxiety?

Racing thoughts, heart rate going through the roof, inability to concentrate, cold sweats, headaches and even nausea are some of the symptoms most students experience right before/during an important exam.  If not managed well, test anxiety could lead to more anxiety, self-doubt, and fear of failure which may derail months of preparation and hard work.

6 tips to overcome test anxiety:

Tip number 1: Be prepared

This might sound obvious, but the key to passing the FE is good preparation. Being prepared will help calm your nerves and be more confident in your abilities on the day of the exam. 

Part of the preparation is to set a good study plan that fits your schedule and learning techniques. So, make sure to dive into the concepts and materials. Also make sure to practice, practice, practice! The more problems you practice, the less stressed you will be. By doing as many practice problems and taking as many practice exams as possible, you’ll be familiar with a variety of problems and be ready on the day of the exam. 

Also, don’t forget to time yourself as if you were in the real exam room. That way, you’ll be practicing the problems and time management at the same time.

Pro tip: Make sure you’re studying the right materials when studying for the FE, how? Always refer back to the reference manual and the NCEES specifications. Following these two resources will help with your studying.

Tip number 2: Get some rest

We all know how important sleep is and the impact it has on our health. So, try to get a good night of sleep before taking the FE. I always advise my students to not solve any problems the day before the exam. Instead, just review your notes and go over your cheat sheets as a light read before the exam. Also, make sure to do an activity like going into nature, working out, or mediation the day before your exam, that way, you’ll be more relaxed and will easily fall asleep at night.

Tip number 3: Do some visualization

Make a “mind movie”. Visualization through ‘mind movie’ allows you to engage in a sensorial experience while having the outcome in mind. You’ll hear and feel the right energy and emotion way before the situation even happens. So, make sure to visualize yourself taking the exam, being as calm and confident as you can be. Feel the emotion to the fullest as if you were in the exam room, let the emotion and energy sink in, welcome it and feel it. 

Get familiar with this technique by practicing it as much as possible, that way, you’ll train your brain to think more positive thoughts and thus, be more confident and less stressed.

Tip number 4: Get in the Zone

Being in the flow state, also known as “being in the zone” is the mental state where you are fully immersed and in total focus on the task at hand. Your whole concentration is on what you are doing in the moment, with no distraction. Getting in the zone takes time and practice, so make sure to practice while you are preparing for your FE exam. That way, it will be easier for you to get in that state while you’re taking your exam. 

Tip number 5: Just start!

Just jump in and start answering easy problems. Once you solve those easier ones, you’ll get momentum, get in the zone, and you’ll be more confident to tackle the more difficult ones.

Tip number 6: Focus on breathing and positive thoughts

This technique is actually very popular when meditating. Taking long and slow deep breaths to calm your nerves can redirect your negative thoughts into more positive ones. Also, the more oxygen that is going to your brain the calmer and more focused you’ll be, so take a breath! 

If you want to know more, make sure to watch the video at the top of the page where I talk more in depth about those helpful techniques to manage test anxiety. Also checkout my YouTube channel for more content related to the FE!