Get on top of pre-test nerves
You've got this!
Caroline avatar
Written by Caroline
Updated over a week ago

Today’s the day, you’ve hopefully prepared as much as you can and you’re ready to ace your exam. You’ve highlighted pages of notes, crammed your brain full of facts and your hand is cramping from writing things down. And now those pesky little nerves seem to have popped up, filling your brain with worry and anxiety about the exam ahead. Keep the following ideas in mind on the day of your exam so you can be your best self.

It's normal!

Pre-test nerves are normal and can actually be helpful. The activation of our fight-or-flight system can give us extra energy, motivation and focus, which can help us perform at our best. Feeling nervous also gives us clues about what we value... feeling nervous means that this exam result is important to you.


Calming our body a little can keep our nerves at a helpful level. Spend a few minutes doing some calm, slow breathing, and ground yourself in the present moment by noticing different things you can see, hear and feel around you.

Arrive early

Make sure you know where you’re supposed to go and what time your exam starts; you don’t want to be rushing at the last minute trying to get there, as your stress levels will be through the roof. Your best bet is to arrive at least 15 minutes early so you can scope out your surroundings and have that peace of mind that you won’t be late.

Eat a nutritious breakfast

While your stomach may be churning with nerves and you don’t think you can eat a thing, it’s important to give yourself the necessary energy to fuel you throughout your exam. Whether it’s eggs on toast or fruit and yogurt, make sure you eat something to give yourself the brain power you need.

Read the instructions/questions carefully

When you're feeling under pressure it's easy to make mistakes because you didn’t read the instructions/questions properly. Read through the questions several times so you know exactly what’s required of you.

Keep everything in perspective

Remind yourself that it’s only an exam. Regardless of the result you get, it doesn’t determine your worth or how successful you will be. You’ll forget you even did this exam in a few months or years, and while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best, it just means that whatever happens you’ll be okay.

Talk to someone

If you feel like you're struggling to get your nerves under control on the day, don’t be afraid to reach out and chat to someone about how you’re feeling. Talk to a friend, psychologist or one of our Sonder team members who can provide you with support.

Related reading:

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information Sources: Griffith University

Image credit: Billy Madison

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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