Test anxiety is a common concern for students. Some nervousness is normal and even helpful before a test. It signals your body that you’re doing something important, and gears you up for performance. Test anxiety becomes a problem when it starts to impair your concentration and memory.
There are many strategies that can be done to improve test anxiety. This article from the Mayo Clinic provides a nice summary which includes learning how to study effectively, establishing a routine, and getting plenty of sleep. But one strategy keeps popping up as a way to reduce anxiety, relieve stress and improve brain function: meditation.
A study done in 2006 specifically looked at the effect of deep breathing meditation on test anxiety for a group of 64 medical students. After practicing this stress-management technique regularly, the students said they had less test anxiety and self-doubt, and better concentration.
I’ve been finding it challenging to develop my own meditation routine. It’s difficult for me as a busy-body to stop running around for a minute and sit and “do nothing”; however, when I manage to sneak in a few sessions a week, I do feel calmer. I found an article from Psychology Today called “6 Mindfulness Exercises That Take Less Than 1 Minute”. This removes my excuse that I don’t have time to meditate. I’ve been doing their strategy of seeing “what one breath feels like”. I take one slow breath and stay mindful of the sensation. I tried this before my last exam and it did calm my nerves.
If you’re looking to try meditation to help with test anxiety, or to help with your overall wellbeing, Mindful has a comprehensive article about how to meditate. Importantly, it includes helpful tips about how to make meditation a habit.