Almost everyone hates taking tests. Even the people that seem like they do well with no effort probably toss and turn a little bit extra the night before an exam.
And unfortunately, that doesn’t change with age. It’s just as nerve-wracking to take the GRE as it was to take the SAT back in high school.
So whether you’re taking a test at work or trying to get into grad school, use the pro test taker tips, below.
1.Become a Breakfast Eater
We know this doesn’t sound that relevant to test-taking, but studies show that it is. Eating a good breakfast kickstarts your brain in the morning and helps you wake up.
Not only that, but starting your day out with a good breakfast keeps your blood sugar levels up, which keeps you from being sluggish and unmotivated.
If you’re a coffee drinker and usually skip breakfast, eating at least a piece of toast or two on the morning of your test with coffee will keep you from having any unpleasant coffee-related bodily symptoms.
It’s hard to concentrate on the test you’re taking when your stomach is rumbling for hunger, or worse, begging you to visit the bathroom because the coffee was too strong.
Do yourself a favor and have a decent meal before you take your test, even if it feels like you’re too nervous to eat. Your results will thank you!
Not taking the test in the morning? The same concept applies. A healthy lunch or dinner sets you up for success the same way.
And if all that fails, at least bring a snack with you that you can eat on your break!
Suggestions on What to Eat
The best things you can eat before a test are things with high fiber content, as fiber keeps you feeling full, longer.
You’ll find fiber in oatmeal, fibrous vegetables like sweet potatoes and whole grains.
Skip anything that’s made with sugar and bleached white flour, as your energy will crash about an hour after eating.
For more information, you can look up “brain-boosting foods” online.
2.Harness the Power of Positive Thinking
Very few people practice visualization, which is a shame. It’s such a powerful tool that it’s been shown to decrease the size of brain tumors alone, without any other medical intervention.
One reason so few people do it is because most of us are never taught how. Either that or we think it’s too “woo-woo” to ever work, so we never tried to learn.
You can think it’s woo-woo if you want, but there’s science backing the power of visualization. If you’ve ever heard that “like attracts like” or read anything about “The Secret,” you know what we mean.
There are a few steps to successful visualization. Here’s what to do:
1.Suspend Your Disbelief
It’s okay to think, “I don’t know if this is going to work, but I’ll give it a try.” However, it’s not okay to think, “this is a waste of time, and it’ll never work.”
Your attitude and how much you practice your visualization is 90% of its success.
2. Decide What You’re Visualizing
What’s making you worried about this test? Is it the result? Or the state of mind you go into the test room with?
If it’s the test score you’re worried about, visualize yourself opening a letter and pulling out a piece of paper that has your name and your dream score on it.
The more you practice this visualization, the closer you get to the score.
If you’re worried about being too nervous to perform, visualize yourself sitting in the test center, taking deep breaths, and feeling calm.
What kind of breaths will you take? What kind of words will you say to yourself before you start the test?
Imagining these scenarios help you feel prepared and will make you more comfortable the day of.
3. Take Action
Nothing in the world happens without action. You can visualize a high score all you want, but if you don’t study, it’s unlikely to happen.
You have to think, “what did I do to get that score?” and start there even if it’s as small of action as making two new flashcards to learn more about online assessment software per night!
Wish for it and work for it- that’s how you’ll get it done!
3. Tie Emotions to Hard Subjects
If there’s something in your test that you can’t remember for the life of you, turn it into a story with human characters and emotions.
Whether that means you draw little faces in your binary code numbers, like 1010 makes a sad face, and 101010 makes a happy face, or imagine your loved one saying what you need to remember to you – emotions are essential.
Human brains are wired to process emotions much better than facts, and you can use that fact to hack your brain.
4. Get Good Sleep
Go to bed early – like seriously early on the night of your test. It’s likely that you’ll lay awake for an hour or two before you fall asleep, so go to bed at least an hour earlier than you normally would.
To learn about how sleep sets us up for success, check out the book The Sleep Revolution when the test is over, and you have free time again.
Becoming a Better Test Taker
We hope the tips on how to become a protest taker above help you with your upcoming test. They’re the things that will boost your performance the most, other than the tried-and-true technique of practice.
On the day of the test remember to eat breakfast, breathe, believe in yourself, and do your best. That’s all you can do!