There are various test-taking tips around, such as these strategies to approach the test and these guidelines to approach different questions. What is not frequently found are good tips on how to prepare your mental skills to succeed. Because it is now time to start preparing for school applications, SATs, GREs, TOEFL, and other “exciting” tests are on the to-do list of many students. Here are four tips of mental skills that can help you achieve your potential:
- Be present. Test takers often get caught up on a previous question that they were not sure or worrying about the result, trying to guess how they are doing. We have a limited capacity to pay attention and if you are paying attention to the past or the present, your brain capacity to solve the question you are at right now will be compromised. One thing that can help you in these situations is to prepare a self-talk sentence or word that will bring you back to the present. Examples could be “be present”, “focus”, or “one question at a time”.
- Know yourself. We all perform our best at different levels of excitement. If you are a person who likes to perform with calm you may want to practice some breathing exercises to bring that calm before the test starts. You may also want to skip the coffee before the test. If you like to perform while more excited, you may want to have some self-talk that makes you confident-excited instead of anxious-excited.
- Practice some mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness exercises are more effective if you practice them often. Therefore, if you want to improve your focus and have a better chance of being present during your exam, practicing mindfulness regularly would be a great investment of your time. One great way of doing this is taking 10-minute breaks during your study sessions to practice mindfulness.
- Focus on doing the best you can. Test takers often get caught up on how well they are doing, but when it is time for the test/exam, you can’t change how much you prepared or what you best possible performance can be; you can just try to do your best. The only way of doing better than your best is by having luck, which you don’t control. So all you can do is focus on the task, perform the best you can, and stop thinking about what score you will get.
I hope these tips can help you reach your potential! Interested in an individualized help? Contact us to schedule an appointment!