It’s finals time again. You’ve done all of your studying, but how can you be certain you’ll remember everything come test day? That pressure could be compounded if your final is the only exam in your course. Here’s some advice that can help you stay cool, calm, and collected on test day.

Don’t cram the night before

Test anxiety usually comes from not feeling properly prepared for an exam. Space out your studying so you don’t get stuck the night before trying to memorize everything. Make sure you just relax the night before a test. Do some light reviewing, but you shouldn’t be learning brand new information. If there’s anything lingering you want to go over, still go over it. Just make sure that “anything lingering” doesn’t equal “the entire textbook.”


Right before the exam, set some time aside to clear your mind. It sounds counter-intuitive but it will help you remember more. Meditation will help put your mind at ease and, most importantly, it will keep you focused on the exam instead of whatever nerves you have going into it. If you’re feeling tense during an exam, take some deep breaths.

Pace yourself

The worst thing about tests: time limits. You can’t spend a minute on each question in a 60-minute exam with 100 questions. Answer the questions you know and keep moving. If you’re stuck on a question, skip ahead. Return to it later when you might have a better understanding of what it’s asking. Focusing on a difficult question will just eat up more time for questions you know you can get right.

Wear comfortable clothes

Staying focused is key to finishing a test successfully. That starts with what you wear going into the exam. Nothing can be more distracting than pants that are just a little too tight. Dress comfortably and bring a sweater in case your classroom is freezing. Your outfit doesn’t need to impress anyone during a test.

Think positively

One of the roots of anxiety is negative thinking. Negative thoughts like “I can’t finish this test” or “this is stupid” or “WHY DID I DROP IN THE CALL OF DUTY LEADERBOARDS?” will only weaken your exam performance. Correct that by thinking positive. Even if the exam is tough, don’t assume you’ll do poorly. That’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy like “I’ll totally be killed twenty times during this session of Call of Duty.”

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