Test Taking Anxiety – How You Can Overcome It as a Premed

December 7

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Everyone faces test-taking anxiety at some degree.

Some students will struggle much more with calming their nerves on test day than others, but this response to an exam is completely normal.  

Whether we are talking about the MCAT, or any of the major standardized tests that medical students have to face, keeping your test anxiety at bay will be essential to gaining a high score. 

With all of his experience after working through his own test-taking strategies to regulate his nerves and , Braeden’s gone ahead and made this video with his three main tips on how to overcome test anxiety!

If you're looking for advice from someone who's been where you are not too long ago to give you the push you need to get through your own testing nerves, you should definitely watch Braeden’s video here or read his commentary below 👇 !

Test Anxiety - It's More Common Than You Think!

Hey, this is Braeden, your med school advisor here, and today we're gonna be talking about test anxiety and what you can do to overcome it.

So I know you know as much as anyone how some tests can really ramp up the nerves and really make us nervous. I know this, I know this firsthand, being a premed myself and now going into medical school, I totally get it!

You know, tests can really be nerve wracking and they can really cripple you if you don't have the right techniques and strategies to overcome these testing anxieties.

And on that note here, the whole goal of this video (and blog post) is for me just to share all the tips and tricks that I found most effective to calm my test anxiety down and really allowed me to just go ahead and crush all the tests that are in front of me.

Test Anxiety Tip #1: The Mental Reset Button 

The first technique that I wanna share with you, and this is my most powerful technique that I use for any test taking anxiety, and that is what I call the mental reset button.

Now, this one's super simple, but first I wanna dive into when to use it.

The Best Time To Use A Mental Reset Tool Useful

So basically you use it whenever you really need to reset your mental headspace. This technique is for whenever you get any anxiety, any negative thought patterns coming up, overthinking, frustration, anything like that, this is when you use it.

So essentially super simple, all you do, okay, is as soon as the anxiety comes up, you take a deep breath in, you pause, and you picture the mental reset button in your head. As you exhale, you press the reset button in your head. 

And then you just repeat this. You keep repeating this until you feel, you’ve come again back to your natural state where you feel like you can crush the test.

Why Mental Resets Are So Effective? 

Let me tell you, it sounds so simple. It sounds too good to be true, but this trick works so well because essentially it just disrupts any negative thought pattern that you have.

You do the deep breaths, so that calms your physiology down, right?

And then you picture this button, so you're not thinking about all those negative thoughts. You're just picturing mental reset button, you hit it and then you reset. 

And by combining the deep breaths and this button press, it really helps just calm the nerves, get back to the state you need to, to actually crush those tests.

Test Anxiety Tip #2: Thought Flipping 

So the second technique that I wanna share with you is what I call thought flipping.

And essentially in this context is basically going from, a nervous to an excited state.

So all you do is when you feel the nerves start creeping up from your test, whether it's before the test or during the test or anything like that instead of saying, “I'm nervous, I don't feel good” and panicking, you instead tell yourself, “Hey, you know, I'm feeling excited, I'm ready to go.”

Right? You see that little change in language, it makes such a powerful difference.

Nervousness Versus Excitement 

And here's why: 

It’s because our initial, you know, physiological response for nervousness or excitement, is the same. For our brain, it's the same thing, it's the same feeling of arousal, but the word you tie to this, either saying you're nervous or you're excited, this will dictate how your brain will respond from there. 

If you say you're nervous and feeling really nervous, you're gonna start to tighten up, you're gonna start to panic, breathe heavy, right?

That's your brain preparing for fight or flight mode. Whereas if you say you're excited, it's gonna prepare you for fight or flight mode, but in a different way, it's gonna kind of allow you to loosen up, get ready to go and get hyper-focused and ready to crush a test.

It sounds too good to be true, it sounds too simple, but honestly, this technique, I've used it and it really has worked.

As soon as I start to feel tightened up, I would say, listen, Braeden, you're just excited for this test. You're excited to crush it. You're prepared, right? You're ready to go. 

And honestly, by doing this, I would use that exciting response and it would give me the energy I needed to really, you know, hang, hunker down and focus and really crush the test.

So this thought flipping technique is huge in my opinion.

Test Anxiety Tip #3: The One Thing You Can't Skip 

Alright, so those two techniques that I mentioned above here are the two main ones that I use.

But there's one last thing that I wanna mention here, and that is, there's no substitute for good preparation for your test.

Trust in Your Studying 

If you're not prepared, if you don't put in the work and you don't study and you come to test day,  no matter if you use these techniques or not, you know you're still gonna be super anxious, super worried, right?

Because you're not prepared for the test. It's super important to actually prepare a study

If you’ve been studying, you know the material, you know you've done practice tests, you can crush this test since you've done it before in your practice test

You’ll just be that much more confident on test day and that internal keep your nerves at a relatively stable level.

And then from there, you're prepared, ready to crush the test.

But then you go ahead and use those techniques that I talk, talked about, you know, the mental reset button and the thought flipping whenever nerves do start to spike up a little bit, right?

You just use those techniques and they bring 'em back down.

And also we talk about, you know, in another video here that you can click about our step-by-step plan that you can use to really crush your test. This is a really in-depth video on all the strategies you need to do to crush your test.

So if you wanna check that out, you can try and prepare as best as you can, and that in turn will keep the nerves relatively low.

We’ve Got Your Back! 

Not only is the journey to becoming a doctor a long and challenging one, but the standardized testing is an ongoing process throughout your med school journey! 

The nerves can feel strong but you know what? You have the tools you need to overcome your test-taking anxiety and it starts with these methods. 

At MedLife Mastery, we're here to support you every step of your journey throughout your premed and towards medical school. 

We help students get accepted into medical school through services like our affordable application coaching and advising alongside our affordable MCAT prep options! You are not alone in your journey and we are here to help you succeed! 

You got this!

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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