A seriously great tip for managing test-taking anxiety

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    Probably everyone will agree that anxiety is one of the crazy things that can mess with you physically and emotionally. So many students tell me that they are often paralyzed by test-taking anxiety, which is really bad when they are preparing to take one of the most important exams of their life – NCLEX!

    So what can you do to overcome NCLEX anxiety? Well, as you know, preparation is key to your success on NCLEX. Knowing the content, as well as understanding how to answer NCLEX-style questions, is really important. If you want to practice answering questions, there are free resources available on the Web such as the NCSBN Learning Extension’s question of the week. But any review course or book can help – by controlling how, when, and what you study can be very empowering and should help you to control your anxiety levels.

    It might even be a good idea to learn as much information about the test by going directly to the source - NCSBN. This Web site has tons of factual information, like what to expect on exam day. There’s even an NCLEX Candidate Tutorial that’s set up to mimic the real thing.

    I think it’s also fabulous to read study and test-taking tips that are posted on this site and others. Even writing a discussion post and voicing your concerns is a really healthy way to deal with anxiety. But have you considered writing about your concerns on the day of the test, right before you’re scheduled to begin the test?


    Believe it or not, a recent study at the University of Chicago demonstrated that anxious students who are given 10 minutes to write their feelings down on paper performed “significantly” better than other students who either wrote about something unrelated to the test or did nothing at all! So, for those of you who are very worried about the NCLEX, here’s a 1-2-3 punch you can use to strike a blow to test-taking anxiety:
    1. Arrive at the testing center early, take out a piece of paper, and clear your mind by putting your thoughts and feelings into words.
    2. After you’ve cleared out every negative emotion, crumple the paper and symbolically toss those worries into the trash.
    3. Take several deep breaths, feeling your heart rate slow. Tell yourself, “I’m ready to conquer NCLEX!”
    Seriously – don’t you think it’s worth a try?
    stevemra, JM RN, Despareux, and 2 others like this.
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

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    and dont forget to write on the notepad they supply you:

    I CAN DO THIS! I WILL PASS THE NCLEX! keep looking at it throughout the test.
    chillceb and noyesno like this.
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    I'm definitely going to use this technique, I have less than a week until my test and I've been freakin out I feel as if i dont know it all as funny as it may sound---Question -how should I study the meds in groups, single some out idk, I get palpitations just thinking about it-help!!!
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    I am far from ready to take my NCLEX, but these sound like great techniques to help overcome any kind of test anxiety.
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    Anything that helps relieve anxiety is bound to be a great help. Thanks for the tips.
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    Prayer is my number one anxiety buster!

    I remember how tough my local exam was and I seriously thought that I would fail it. I just prayed, "God, I have no control over this. Only YOU can help me pass this exam. I lift it up and claim it, I'll pass this with flying colors! Thank You Lord!"

    Let's all pray for each other! And I wish all good luck too!
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    SusanRN82,
    Thank you so much for you insight and help on test taking and preparing. I know that I definitely deal with test anxiety and in nursing it is that much more difficult. I had to write a research paper on test taking and the anxieties and stresses that come with it, and your advice is very helpful.
    A few other facts that I found while doing my paper, that are helpful in general test taking, (and hopefully the NCLEX too!) are as follows:
    - Make sure to take study breaks while studying and not just push and push for hours. It is likely you will learn less if you don't take breaks and just try to keep going.
    - Make sure that your life is as balanced as it can be. This includes, family and friends time, eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest, staying on top of your studies, etc. A healthy balance between physical and mental ability is important and they go together and effect each other much more than most people think.
    - Another factor that is helpful in reducing test anxiety is studying in groups. It is very important for many people to be able to discuss subjects with others and reason together. This makes the student(s) have to find their opinion on the matter and helps them to obtain a better understanding on the subject since other student's opinions may not be the same.
    - Also like SusanRN82 mentioned, believing in yourself is huge in test taking. Make sure that you are confident in your ability, without your own confidence, you won't go far in the test.
    I hope that some of my tips are a little helpful in addition to SusanRN82's post and the tips she gave! Good luck on the NCLEX, remember to get plenty of rest and eat a big breakfast the night before and the morning of the test!


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