7 Ways to Manage Stress Before a Test

You’re stressed about the test. Okay, but guess what? So are thousands of other students, at this very minute!

stress before test

It's okay to feel stressed out!

It’s okay to be stressed about the GRE: it is stressful! You’ve got tight time constraints; it means a lot; you’ve spent a lot of time on it: it’s super-stressful! But hey, stress is a part of life, and as with all difficulties in life, it’s smart to be proactive in addressing the difficulties head-on with steps that you can take right now. There’s lots of ways you can manage stress:

#1 Exercise!

Stress before test.You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Whether it’s going for  walk or run, Zumba, pumping some iron, or Richard Simmons Dance Party 4, working out the stress is always worth it. We know it’s hard to get out of the computer chair sometimes . .  . but do it! Your body and mind will thank you after.

#2 Distract yourself with play.

Taking time for some purposeful distraction and fantasy time—and accepting this as part of your study regimen—will keep your brain healthy, fresh, and ready to learn. Go to the movies, play ping pong, or read a whimsical book—anything that takes your mind off that-test-which-shall-not-be-named :)

#3 Eat right.

“You are what you eat” is pretty true, isn’t it? We know it’s tough to focus on food when you’re doing a million things + studying for the GRE. But you can take smart moves to incorporate eating well into your study plans. For example, join together a few study buddies for study dinners, where one person cooks for the others. Or cook in bulk on the weekends and refrigerate your leftovers for meals during the week.

#4 Talk about your stress.

Sometimes simply talking about the stress, even if you don’t really get “answers”, can be an effective strategy to manage stress. Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and more than likely you’ll find a kind ear from a family member or friend who you can talk to to ease your mind.

#5 Stop, and dream a little!

Stress before test.You’re taking the GRE because you’ve got some ambition of improving yourself personally and professionally. So first, congratulate yourself on taking steps for self-improvement! You should feel proud that you’ve taken this step: your work ethic will pay off, no matter what happens on test day.

But even more, try to visualize the person you’re trying to become. When you can truly envision yourself as a successful, confident person, it’s much easier to take real and concrete steps to become that person. Hey, you might even get an awesome GRE score too :)

6. Sleep

Everyone’s different, but with your busy schedule it’s not smart to cut out on sleep on a Tuesday night just to get through “one more” practice section. Try to be disciplined about taking care of your body. Oh, and nap!

7. Don’t, Don’t Compare Yourself with Other People!

Stress before test.This may sound crazy coming from a test preparation blog, where everything seems to be about percentiles and comparing yourself to other people. But it’s true: you’re an individual, and trying to compare yourself with other people simply won't work out well.

Trust us. Do your best; control what you can control; be yourself; and remember that your GRE score is not reflective of your worth as a person!

 

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