Man studying

Pre-exam jitters may be inevitable, but all massage students can be prepared for their massage exam with a little hard work and smart planning.

By starting early, you can give yourself an edge and survive this important rite of passage.

Know the Exam

The license exam demonstrates your mastery of the skills and knowledge massage therapists use every day. From the beginning of massage school, you start absorbing the information and practical knowledge you will need to ace your exam.

Massage therapist Lauren Fine, L.M.T., owner of Fuel The Soul in Merrik, New York, and an ­­­­­­adjunct professor at the New York College of Health Professions, recommended that students begin preparing early and with the right information.

“It all depends on how much time you have before the test,” Fine said. “I would start studying even while you’re in school.”

Depending on when you graduate, Fine said, you may not have much time before the exam to review what you learned.

Before your test day arrives, be sure you have the right information about testing requirements, locations and other details. Since each state has unique licensure requirements, students should double-check those before they schedule their exam.


Study Hard and Study Smart

Fine suggests that students consider their personal learning styles, the amount of study time available and their own level of preparation when creating a study plan. Choose study techniques based on your needs. Studying with peers from school, rewriting your notes and using study tools such as flash cards are all helpful ideas.

“Getting together in a study group, you’re [going] to start remembering things,” Fine said. Fine also believes rewriting notes is important for learning, and recommends that students use this study method. This visual learning technique presents the same material you hear in your lectures, but allows you to see and mentally process it in a different way.

While studying is essential to a successful test, Fine emphasizes the importance of avoiding study burnout. “Cramming is never good,” she said. “Don’t study too hard.” Smart study habits help you do your best and stress less.


Keep Stress at a Minimum

For minimizing stress, your confidence and your health are key. Maintaining healthy habits protects your body and mind during times of stress. Getting adequate rest, eating well and using relaxation techniques can help keep your brain at peak performance levels.

Fine recommended practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, relaxing pressure points and even aromatherapy.

“We recommend students put a dab of lavender oil on their wrists before a test,” she added. Keep in mind, however, that wearing too much essential oil may distract other students. Fine recommended using a very small and subtle amount of lavender oil to reduce your stress before and during the exam.


You Must Believe

Most of all, Fine believes students should have healthy self-confidence. “They have to believe that they’re going to do well,” she said. “They have all of the information and they just have to access it during the test.”

Belief and self-confidence will give you a powerful boost. With these mental attitudes combined with relaxation habits and study tools, you have the power to prepare yourself for a great exam day.