How To Decompress After an Exam

Decompressing after a “life-altering” standardized test can often be tricky. An exam like the SAT or GMAT is an important event if your life that has taken months to prepare for and stress over. When the exam is over, however, the best thing you can do is move on with your life. No amount of stress or worry is going to change the testing experience or your score, so try to leave your anxiety at the testing center door. After you physically leave the exam, turn off your brain, and focus on something more enjoyable. A great way to move on from a big exam is to have a reward in mind. Think about something that will motivate you to do well and set that as your end reward on test day. When the testing session is over, stop thinking about the exam and focus on rewarding yourself with a trip to the beach to unwind or maybe a dinner out with friends. 

If a reward isn’t enough to stop the worry, try to meditate and put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. From promoting emotional well-being to controlling anxiety, research has shown that there are numerous benefits to meditation. Meditation allows you to take charge of your nervous system and regulate emotions in the brain, which helps you to focus and redirect your mind to something different (and more enjoyable). Decompressing in this manner may also help you to sleep better after your exam, which is an added bonus. 

We all want to escape reality at some point in our lives, especially on exam day! If you are struggling to let go of your testing session, focus on something that makes you happy. Read a good book, watch a movie, or go to the pool and soak up the sun to help enjoy the rest of your day. If music is your thing, put on your headphones and jam out to your favorite band. Find an activity that will lift your mood and “tune-out” any negative emotions that arise about the test. Focus on enjoying the experience and decompressing through fun and laughter. 

Physical activity is another great way to change your mood and move on after a stressful event. Exercise, whether it be running in your neighborhood or going to the gym, is an excellent way to increases endorphins and reduces stress hormones in the body. Endorphins are a chemical produced by the body that interacts with receptors in your brain; the interaction of these chemicals help you feel focused, increase pleasure, reduce pain, and promote an overall better mood. Essentially, endorphins improve your mood and help you to feel better about your testing experience. Through exercise, you can increase endorphins and treat your post-test anxiety. 

If all of these avenues still leave you feeling anxious about the test, the best thing you can do is vent! When you express your frustrations and concerns about a situation, you do more than just “let it out.” Expressing yourself helps to reduce your stress and get past the anxiety-ridden experience. If you do not let go of the tension and communicate your thoughts, your anger towards the experience may lead to physical health problems. When you get stressed or have high amounts of anxiety, your body naturally releases chemicals to increase your ability to “fight or flight.” If you remain in this state, you may start grinding your teeth, get an upset stomach, or develop a headache. So, my advice to you would be to vent your anxiety and move on the best you can with your daily routine. 

Whether you decide to reward yourself after an exam or head to the gym to work out your anxiety, the number one task after completing a cumbersome and stressful test is to focus on getting things back to normal. A normal routine where you focus on living life and not worrying about what is in the past.

How can MINDSPIRE help with your student?

At MINDSPIRE, we provide tutoring and test prep that is tailored to specific learning styles and individual needs. If you are interested in getting a tutor for any standardized exam, contact us or give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737).

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