How to relax while taking tests in college

Most students panic. As a result, they perform quite poorly. In fact, some students might know the material through and through up until the very moment they walk into the classroom, sit down at their desk, and the test begins.

How to relax while taking tests in college

Importance of Relaxing While Taking Tests in College

Everyone knows that stress isn’t good for the human body, but neither is it good for the human mind. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, stress not only causes feelings of anxiety, it also causes forgetfulness and an inability to focus. Therefore, it’s no wonder that students who “freak out” during exams tend to perform poorly, even though they’ve studied and prepared; and since this is the case, students need to learn to relax during examinations, and one proven relaxation method is meditation.

Using Transcendental Meditation for Relaxation

Historically, according to The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, meditation is a religious discipline, wherein the adherent (follower) focuses on a single point of reference as a means of invoking divine grace. For example, Christian mystics might contemplate a spiritual theme, question, or problem while seeking conscious union with the Divine Creator. Such a state is usually achieved through visualization of a deity and/or the repetition of a prayer or mantra.

Some interesting facts about meditation:

All religions have employed it in various forms since ancient times.
It gained popular interests in the United States during the 20th century after World War II.
It increased in popularity after the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi began publicly teaching the system called transcendental meditation in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Transcendental meditation is now widely used by many nonreligious adherents to achieve a state of physical and mental relaxation. (Columbia)

Relaxation Techniques to Use During College Examinations

What makes mediation such an ideal method of relaxation, according to the Mayo Clinic, is that it doesn’t require any special equipment, meaning it’s inexpensive; it can be practiced by anyone, young or old; and it can be practiced anywhere at almost anytime. These factors make mediation the perfect relaxation technique for students to use when taking tests in college.

Although there are many types of meditation, the two that are especially useful for college students who want to relax during tests are guided meditation and mantra meditation.

Using Guided Meditation for Relaxation During College Exams

Guided meditation, often called visualization, involves creating a mental image of a place or situation that is especially relaxing. The key is to incorporate as many of the senses as possible – sight, smell, hearing, touch, and, if possible, taste. A student, for example, might visualize himself sitting beside a gurgling stream in the forest as he sips a cold drink (preferable nonalcoholic). He hears the birds chirping, squirrels chattering, and the breeze rustling through the leaves; feels the sunlight warm upon his neck and the breeze caressing his skin; and smells the rich aroma of cedar boughs, pine needles, and fallen leaves.

Using Mantra Meditation for Relaxation During College Exams

Mantra meditation involves the repetition of a sound, word or combination of words, thought, or phrase. For instance, a student might repeat the soothing sound “om” or reiterate a line from a favorite poem, prayer, or song. An example is the line “Peace like a river flows through my soul,” from an old Baptist hymn. Another is “The force be with me,” a modification of the famous line from the Star Wars movies. Of course, students can create their own mantras. The key, though, is to keep it short, repeating the same word, words, or phrase continually, and not to use an entire poem or song.

In summary, students don’t need to freak out when taking exams, not if they learn to relax, and meditation is a proven relaxation technique that can reduce anxiety so that students can calm down, breathe, focus, and recall the material they worked so hard to learn.

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