analog clock resized 600Test taking is nerve-racking and downright terrifying for many students. But for some, anxiety is sidestepped. How do they do it? Here are 5 tips students can use to reduce test day jitters:

  1. Sleep and be rested.

Lack of sleep and insomnia rank is a #1 health challenge for many Americans. A well rested body performs better on tests - physically, emotionally and mentally. Getting to sleep the night before a test might be a challenge. Taking a warm bath or shower aids relaxation and prepares the body for sleep. Reducing protein intake at dinner is also helpful because it puts less stress on the liver and digestive systems, which rebalance during sleep. Sleep machines, essential oils and soft music are wonderful sleep aids. And avoid caffeine induced cram sessions the night before the test. Sleep = focus = no jitters.

  1. Eat healthy and hydrate.

Nutrition is the second most important tool students can use to help reduce test day jitters. Because SATs are given in the morning, it is important to eat a great breakfast. Protein at breakfast is a great (and recommended) food to help your body sustain its functions throughout the morning. Eggs, meats and yogurt or cottage cheese with nuts are excellent sources of morning protein. Pack protein filled snacks to grab and eat quickly during testing breaks too. And most importantly, stay hydrated! Water is the number one drink that can improve your test scores. Statistics show that a hydrated mind performs better. Always bring water to the test with you.

  1. Exercise.

Exercise is another tool used to improve the quality of our lives, and that can even be used to reduce test taking anxieties. Take a walk, jog, stretch, do yoga or swim during the week leading up to your test or even the morning of the test. Do any exercise that is enjoyable, gets your heart pumping and blood flowing. This increased blood flow can improve cognitive functions during test taking and increase focus.

  1. Relax

For some, relaxation is an art form that has to be learned, studied and practiced. Yoga, meditation and tai chi are practices many people use to tap into the quietness of life, and leave the jitters (anxieties) behind. Breathing and visualization practices work as a way to reduce stress and anxieties too. Essential oils like Lavender (to inspire calm) and Peppermint (to bring focus) can be used during test taking. One or two drops on your desk, pencil or sleeve can enliven the senses. Even comfortable clothing helps relax our bodies during potentially stressful times.

  1. Prepare. 

Be prepared. Preparation is the surest way to success. SAT test preparation programs are created to give students the advantage of training and preparing for this difficult test ahead of time, so that the day of the test they can leave any jitters behind.