Are you anxious about an upcoming test or examination? Are you worried because your swirling emotions are making you concentrate less on your studies? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, this article is for you. The article reviews how an ancient act of meditation can be used to overcome test anxiety. It also recommends top videos and materials to guide beginners through their first steps into learning mindfulness meditation.
How Does Meditation Help with Test Anxiety?
In today’s performance-driven world, test anxiety is becoming more common. Whether you were prepared for the test or not, that internal panic was almost certainly an extremely uncomfortable hindrance that didn’t help your performance.
Meditation is an ancient practice widely used by students seeking to improve their test scores. Although often considered an ancient practice, meditation is becoming more popular among students because of the benefits it guarantees. Many studies have shown the benefits of meditation to include improved self-control and response adaptability. But how does meditation help with test anxiety? Meditation comes in various forms – mindfulness meditation, spiritual meditation, movement meditation, mantra meditation, etc. However, mindfulness meditation has been shown to offer a great deal of help when it comes to overcoming test anxiety.
Mindfulness is often defined as paying attention to purpose and recognizing your feelings. It is also a willingness to accept these feelings. While learning about mindfulness, researchers have discovered that it has several benefits for students. Some of the direct effects of mindfulness on students include; boosting their working memory, reducing medical student stress, and increasing test-taking resilience. There is also a connection between the student trait mindfulness and academic achievement. The existence of this connection is a strong indication that mindfulness meditation is indeed an effective technique for overcoming test anxiety.
A study by some researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, showed that even though tests are a trigger for anxiety in students, mindfulness meditation and other similar activities can help to reduce the tension and help them become more assertive and calm during the tests. According to the study, students who participated in two weeks of mindfulness training had better test scores and improved working memory, as well as a reduced occurrence of distracting thoughts.
While anxiety may arise during the exam period, you can already deal with it mindfully. It’s a natural part of every human being. With practice, meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, you’ll be able to reduce stress, improve your grades, and have a positive impact on how you approach each moment of your life.
What are the Best Ways to Overcome Test Anxiety?
A slight uneasiness before a test is normal, and it can help you concentrate while refining your thoughts. On the other hand, worry and self-doubt can affect your test-taking performance. Anyone can experience test anxiety. However, not everyone knows the right steps for overcoming it.
Below are some strategies that could help you cope with test anxiety:
Learn how to study productively
Your educational institution may provide study skill classes or other tools to help you understand learning techniques and test-taking tactics. If you study and practice the subject that will be on the test in a coordinated manner, you will feel more at ease.
Study early and in similar places
Early in the morning and in similar locations are ideal for studying. It is far preferable to learn in small increments over time rather than cramming everything in at once. Additionally, studying in the same or comparable locations as to where you take your test can help you remember everything you’ve read when you sit for the test.
Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, relaxing your muscles one at a time, or simply closing your eyes and envisioning a favorable outcome, can help ease anxiety and boost your confidence before and during the exam.
Don’t dismiss a learning disability
An underlying medical condition that impairs the ability to study, focus, or retain, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia, may increase test anxiety. A student with a learning disability is entitled to test-taking support in many circumstances, such as additional time to finish a test, read-aloud questions, or quiet spaces for testing.
Seek professional guidance
A psychologist or other mental health practitioner can help you work through the feelings, emotions, and habits that trigger your anxiety using psychotherapy. Inquire about counseling services at your school or whether your workplace offers therapy through an employee assistance program.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are several types of meditation. Each type plays its role in the management of test anxiety. Mindful meditation involves concentrating on your thoughts as they flow through your mind. When practicing mindfulness for test anxiety, don’t criticize or become absorbed with your thoughts. This sort of meditation is helpful for persons who don’t have access to an instructor because it can be done alone. Concentration upon any of the five senses is required for focused meditation.
This practice is beneficial for anyone who needs more focus in their lives, as the name implies. Movement meditation is a type of active meditation in which your movements guide you. This form of meditation is also a form of test anxiety exercises that involve calming bodily movements. When you try out these meditation exercises, you might just find the ones that work best for you. Then you focus more on the best meditation before studying.
How to Clear Your Mind Before a Test?
If you’re about to take a challenging test, consider the tips below to loosen up and clear your mind.
Having to prepare for the test ahead of time is an excellent approach to avoid last-minute tension. Every day, spend at least an hour with your material, reviewing everything taught in the class. You should begin studying your notes as soon as possible so that you can get enough rest the night before the actual test.
Take short breaks
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with information after hours of academic work. Beyond this threshold, your brain is unable to process any more information. However, taking a quick rest between your studies can return you to your normal state when you can absorb more information. A good way to take a break is by treating yourself to one of your best activities. You can choose to play a sport, watch an episode of your favorite show, take a stroll, etc.
Take conscious breaths
Meditation is an ancient technique for soothing the mind. Consider giving it a shot before a particularly stressful exam. Take a few deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. When you notice your focus drifting, try counting the number of breaths and bringing it back to the counting.
If you’re concerned about a test, you should do some exercise. Exercising allows you to take a break from your academics while also releasing all of your exhaustion. It relaxes your muscles, which in turn calms you. Exercising also promotes the release of chemicals in the brain that help to alleviate stress. You can go for a jog, play sports, or engage in any other form of physical activity that interests you.
What are the Best Meditation Techniques to Help with Test Anxiety?
Let’s take a look at meditation techniques that can help with test anxiety. You can also practice some of these techniques the night before the test to alleviate possible anxiety. Let’s dive right in.
Mindful breathing meditation
You should practice mindful breathing twice a day to develop greater focus, concentration, and a better overall sense of clarity and serenity over time.
Positivity is just as contagious and influencing as negativity. Identify the things you are grateful for and reflect on them. You can even keep a daily gratitude journal to record them down. When you keep talking about positive things and acknowledging them, you get to see the brighter side of things!
With self-compassion exercises, you can suppress your inner critic and encourage yourself. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day focusing on things you’re proud of, for instance, your achievements. You can as well think of ways you were especially tough on yourself. Then, identify the emotions that are linked with these situations and the reasons behind those emotions. Write and say pleasant words to yourself.
Body scan meditation
A body scan meditation helps us discover where we have unconscious holding patterns and allows us to let go of them with our awareness. Practicing the body scan meditation the night before the test can help you relax more deeply.
The five senses drill
This meditation technique allows you to use all five of your sense organs. Identify five things you can see and focus on them long enough to process them. Do the same with four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and a random taste you can come up with.
Guided Meditation Videos to Help with Test Anxiety
Sometimes, the best test anxiety meditation guides are in audio or video format. This is why we have collated some YouTube videos that can help you practice guided meditation while trying to overcome test anxiety.
Guided Meditation To Help With Test Anxiety
In this 10-minute video, you will learn about meditation and how you can use it to overcome test anxiety. This video takes you through a guided meditation for studying for an upcoming test. You’ll also learn how to practice mindfulness to overcome test anxiety.
Exam Success Meditation
This is another 10-minute video to calm your nerves. It is some kind of mantra meditation; only you are listening to it from someone else. And yes, it works. Let your meditation night before the test be a pleasant one.
Meditation to Calm Test Anxiety
This is one of the videos from Brain Education TV that helps with test anxiety. Brain Education TV offers videos on mental health and mental wellness for young adults battling loneliness, depression, or anxiety. If you have an upcoming text and feel anxious about it, give this guided meditation video a try to calm your anxiety, collect your thoughts, and feel motivated for your test.
Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
This video explains the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation. You’ll learn and practice selecting a comfortable seat, focusing on the breath, and becoming mindful of any sensations or thoughts that arise while meditating. If you get easily tensed whenever you have tests, you should watch this video to learn the basics of mindfulness meditation.
Meditation Apps for Test Anxiety
Here are some helpful meditation apps for test anxiety.
- Calm – Meditate, Sleep, Relax: Calm is an app that makes meditation easier. It has several sessions to help you meditate better. It also has a web format that can be accessed on any browser.
- Headspace: Guided Meditation & Mindfulness: this app has ten guided meditations, a personalized performance section, and reminders to help you stay on track; the Headspace app intends to make meditation more convenient.
- Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds: A good night’s sleep aids in consolidating memories learned while awake. Relax Melodies allows you to create a mix of relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep. It also works for providing a few moments of quiet during the day.
Wrapping Things Up: The Best Test Anxiety Meditations
It’s not uncommon for people to suddenly become anxious when preparing for a major exam. After all, higher stakes usually mean more invested emotions. And with emotions going high, it becomes very different to organize your thoughts and focus on studying. However, the good news is that you can control your emotions when you suddenly feel anxious. An effective strategy for doing this is mindfulness meditation. Other test anxiety exercises may exist, but we’ve found that this one is easy and doesn’t cost you anything to incorporate into your lifestyle. Throughout this article, we’ve explained essential steps to help you leverage meditation to overcome test anxiety.