A little nervousness before a test or exam is natural, but it is called test anxiety when it becomes too much. Many people suffer from test anxiety, making them perform poorly even when they have everything they need to succeed.
The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam is one of the most challenging exams in the world, with only a 20% pass rate, so many people experience test anxiety when exam dates approach. The following practices will help you overcome your test anxiety and ace the CFA exam:
The best antidote to test anxiety is preparation. Therefore, you should ensure you study effectively before taking the CFA exam. You may think you know how to study for an exam, especially if taking a graduate-level test like the CFA exam.
However, there is always room for improvement. Learn how to study efficiently, meaning understanding as much of the course material as possible in the shortest time possible. If you know you are adequately prepared, you are more likely to be relaxed during the exam. You will have done everything you can to have the confidence to pass the exam.
Planning is an excellent way to ensure confidence and defeat anxiety. A study plan outlines how you will study for the exam until that day. Therefore, starting studying as early as possible is best to ensure you have the best chance to pass the exam.
You should leave enough time each day to study the course material when you choose a course. CFA is a graduate-level course, so you should aim for at least three hours of study time a day.
Your study plan should also include places where you will be studying. Studying in places similar to a CFA exam room is an excellent idea to create an element of familiarity that will reduce your anxiety on exam day.
The benefits of exercise for the brain have been advertised for too long for you to ignore them. During your duration of study for the CFA exam, the best thing you can do for your brain is to get regular exercise.
You should include at least an hour every day for exercise in your plans. Exercise can include anything from weightlifting to running to playing sports. Get active, and you will learn to be less anxious, directly translating to defeating test anxiety.
Another excellent practice to develop when studying for the CFA exam is to get sufficient sleep. Sleep is the best restorative activity for the body and mind. The deeper and longer you sleep, the better your cognitive capacity and memory function, making you better prepared for the CFA exam.
Develop a good sleep routine that ensures you get adequate sleep every night. A great night of sleep is paramount the day before the exam. You will experience test anxiety if you are tired and groggy on exam day, so get at least eight hours of sleep regardless of how much you want to stay up studying the day before the CFA exam.
Nutrition also directly affects brain health, and it is good to develop good eating habits as you study for the CFA exam. Your brain needs food to function, and the healthier your diet, the healthier your brain will be.
Ensure your diet consists of whole grain carbohydrates, lean proteins, green vegetables, and fresh fruit. Also include healthy fats from sources like nuts and avocados.
You should particularly eat healthy meals the night before, the morning of, and during the break of your CFA exams. Nutritious food ensures your brain is functioning optimally, so you overcome test anxiety and perform the best in your exams.
There is no shortcut to beating test anxiety and passing the CFA exam. Best practices for overcoming test anxiety include getting enough sleep, having a study plan, studying efficiently, exercising regularly, and eating a nutritious diet. If you do the above, you should ace your CFA exam.