That fear that rips through your chest when you sit down to take an exam and the inner turmoil that is rattling around in your brain is called test anxiety. You start to sweat, your hands might start to shake, and your heart will feel as if it’s pounding against your chest.
Test anxiety isn’t prejudiced. It doesn’t choose you because of your gender or race or grades. It’s simply your body reacting to a perceived threat. In this case, it’s a test that could forward your career as a patent agent or patent attorney.
Test anxiety is a common affliction for people that are ready to take an exam, and it doesn’t matter how prepared you are for the exam. The knowledge that you’ve acquired and the hours you have spent studying can leave you when you sit down at the computer to begin your exam if you don’t put up a fight.
Students with test anxiety, on average, can perform up to 12% lower than others. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your test anxiety and perform to your potential.
Create a Study Plan
The best plan of attack is to create a study plan to make sure you’re prepared for the patent bar. There is nothing worse than test anxiety because you didn’t study the information you need to excel.
Create a study plan that works for you. This plan should include tactics that help you retain important cases and the patent process for inventors.
Everyone’s study routines vary because we all learn differently. Some obtain information from reading while others study better using auditory routines. Some study better alone while others study better in groups. Find what works best for you and what has helped you with past exams.
Schedule specific hours dedicated to studying. Make sure your family and friends know these set hours that you have chosen and emphasize how important it is not to interrupt you during this time.
Practice exams are beneficial. They tell you where you are lacking in knowledge, so you can spend more time on the specific areas you are struggling with. You don’t want to study the information that is already engraved into your brain.
A plan remains only a plan unless you step into action. Stick to the study plan you’ve created, so you develop a study habit over the next few months.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Strong sleep plays an important role in your memory. Your instincts will tell you to stay up all night, studying away and taking in massive amounts of caffeine.
Research has shown that a healthy amount of sleep after studying will keep everything that you’ve been learning in the back of your brain, so it’s easy to access when you need it. Your brain is aware that this information is vital, so your neurons make it a first priority while sleeping.
Not only is sleep important for your memory but it’s just as important in reducing stress. Sleep deprivation leads to increased stress. Stress can lead to insomnia. It’s a vicious cycle. The less stress you have before the test, the less anxiety you’ll have.
A healthy eight hours of sleep will have you focused on the patent bar and help to reduce your test anxiety.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
We have been taught since grade school that a healthy breakfast is an important part of every day. However, it can be an even greater help the morning before your patent bar exam.
A breakfast that’s jam-packed with protein and healthy carbohydrates (like wheat) can boost your mood and fight fatigue. It can also help with your memory and boost your concentration during your exam.
Do Your Best to Think Positive
If you experience test anxiety, you know all too well the negativity your mind is screaming. This horrible self-talk could end up being your demise if you don’t learn to reign it in.
Battling negative self-talk can be a difficult process, but it is possible to defeat. Once you start beating yourself up mentally, start repeating positive affirmations. Remind yourself that you have prepared for this exam and try to visualize yourself passing it.
To implement positive thoughts, you must remember to be self-aware of the thoughts flooding through your head. Eventually, this will become a habit. You don’t want to succumb to the negativity.
Skim the Test
You want to skim through the test before you start. Read the directions thoroughly, so you understand what’s expected of you.
Reading through the test helps you answer the questions easiest to you first so you can dedicate the rest of your time working on the multiple-choice questions that you struggle with. It gives you ample time to think critically and make an informed decision. Remember, on the patent bar exam you aren’t penalized for wrong answers.
This is much easier said than done. If you feel the dread building up inside of you, close your eyes for a few moments. Breathe in and breathe out. Focus on the things in the present like the smells in the room or the sounds around you.
This will help keep you in the present moment. It will help you avoid racing thoughts and help combat your anxiety from taking over during the test.
You Can Beat This
You don’t have to let test anxiety get the best of you on the patent bar exam day. You can use these tips to relax your mind, which will in return relax your body. If these tips don’t help you reduce your test anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask for help.