If you’re gunning for the UPCAT, chances are you’ll feel at least a little bit nervous as the big day approaches. Don’t worry, as anyone who wants to do well is bound to feel the same way.
The trick is to manage your nervousness so that it stays at acceptable levels. Jitter management leads to optimal performance; having no anxiety at all leads to complacency, and the latter leads to a lot of stupid mistakes.
The first thing you need to do is to get your physical needs in order. The body and the mind are connected, so if you are lacking in the sleep or nutrition department, you’ll feel more jittery than normal.
Do everything to lessen your chances of not making it to the UPCAT passer’s list. Take review classes, review on your own, read more about the application process and how UP chooses its passers, learn about the other factors that will increase your chances of making it to UP. The better your preparations are, the less jittery you will usually feel. Also, don’t forget to surround yourself with optimistic and proactive people. This will help you a lot in getting into the right frame of mind for the UPCAT.
Do not review on the day before (or if you can help it, the week before) the exam anymore! Relax, let your hair down, do something that you enjoy. Practice breathing deeply from your diaphragm. During the UPCAT, take a few seconds every so often to breathe and clear your head.
Reprogramming Your Mind
On another article of mine, I shared this technique called “fake it till you make it.” Regardless of how you actually feel about the UPCAT, stand in front of the mirror every day before the test, look yourself in the eye, and tell yourself that you will pass the UPCAT with flying colors. It may feel like a lie at first, but do it regularly enough and you’ll not only believe it—you’ll make it happen, too.
Finally, pray before the exam for guidance and clear thinking. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with being nervous. A little amount of helpful anxiety makes you want to do your best, and that’s exactly what you need to do.