Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST
Are you the person that is walks into the exam reading the study guide? Do you feel that if you don’t look over your note cards one last time that you will fail the test? Many people cram everything they can into the last moment before entering the exam room. If you think you are going to retain the last bit of information, you are mistaken.
What would happen if you stopped studying three days before your exam? If you are gasping in horror, take a moment to consider the following reasons why you need to move your study material to the side a few days before your exam.
You have been preparing for months
You didn’t start studying yesterday. Your preparation began months ago, and you followed a study plan. If you wonder, “Did I study enough?” you are normal. This exam has a lot of weight on your career, but remember that you started prepping well in advance.
You have used a proven study program and answered exam questions. If you continue to review until the last few days, you run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and forgetting what you have learned. Let it go and relax. Part of your plan was to practice self-care three days before the exam. This means that you will allow yourself to watch TV, read a book, visit with friends, or get outside.
Focus on sleeping, eating, and deep breathing
The last three days before your exam need to be spent recuperating and resting. This doesn’t mean you can’t review a few note cards. Your body and mind need to relax so that you can retrieve the information.
Try practicing mindfulness techniques to help you relax and focus on the moment, especially when you begin to feel nervous. Practice deep breathing exercises to help relieve any anxiety that you may be experiencing. Make sure that you eat a balanced meal that isn’t full of carbohydrates. Doing this three days before your test will help you function at your best.
You don’t want to create more anxiety
You are feeling anxious enough. If you study until your exam date, you will more than likely increase your stress. You want your hard work to pay off. Be sure to use the last few days to rest and relax so you can recall all of the information you learned.
A few days before the exam you will experience a spike in stress hormones. This is to be expected. This is further proof of why you need to focus on removing stress.
Your exam date is just around the corner. You have planned, studied, and now it’s time to take a deep breath. Since you used a study plan and kept up with your material, you are as prepared as you can be. Remember to use your mindfulness and breathing techniques throughout the exam. You can do this!