Feeling stressed is normal when taking an exam. In fact, it can be a good thing because it helps you focus and keeps you engaged. However, for some, anxiety before or during an exam can be overwhelming and debilitating. Even if you’ve studied hard for your Series 7 exam, anxiety could get in the way of a passing score. Here are some tips for overcoming your fear and anxiety before an exam.
Follow the Prep Process
The key to exam prep is efficient studying and successful completion of practice tests. We recommend at least forty hours of study before taking the Series 3. If you study the material and take practice exams as prescribed, you can go into the exam confidently and unafraid of lacking the knowledge you need to pass. In addition to taking custom quizzes of varying length, completion of at least five full practice exams is critical because it enables you to build the endurance you need to stay focused until the end of the exam. The more questions you do, the more comfort you will have with the broad range of material and the context of how the material is tested.
Mindfulness is a meditative technique in which you focus on the present moment. This can be very useful for overcoming anxiety during a test. Practicing mindfulness means you stay in the present, concentrating only on the question you are answering. You don’t allow yourself to worry about what will happen if you fail the exam, or question whether you prepared well enough. You discipline yourself against running distracting “what if” scenarios in your head, and focus only on the task at hand.
Block out Negative Thoughts
Recognize that negative thoughts, like assuming you will fail, have no value. Try to isolate these thoughts and eliminate them from your thinking. Focus only on positive thoughts, and practice affirmations such as “I can do it” and “I will pass.” Just smiling to yourself can create a positive response in your brain.
Ask about Special Accommodations
If you can’t cope with the test taking environment, ask about special accommodations. It’s possible to get extra time on an exam or even a private room. For some, this is a necessity. If this is essential for your success, be sure to contact FINRA at least 2 -3 weeks in advance of your test date to find out more about available resources.