Nothing is going to take the place of old-fashioned studying to help you ace that home-study massage exam. But what happens when you do everything by the book and still fail?

Many times it has nothing to do with being a bad student; some people just aren’t good test takers. Anxiety and poor test-taking skills can cause the best of students to completely flub on exam day.

While home-study exams don’t try to give you trick questions, certain types of tests can cause you to stumble if you aren’t aware of how test creators make the questions more challenging.

Another problem is coping with test-taking anxiety. If you don’t address this issue, you will be more prone to making careless errors, fail to recall what you’ve learned in your course materials or not finish the exam on time.

However, there is hope for home-study massage students. It comes in the form of test-taking strategies. These planned strategies can help you overcome some of the stressful obstacles before you in the tests.

Overcoming anxiety

  • Rest. Get a good night’s sleep before you take the exam. That way, you go into the test feeling more refreshed and relaxed.
  • Don’t cram the night before a test. Give yourself several days to study the material that will be tested, so you’re not spending hours on end reading the night before.
  • Practice. Taking practice exams before the big day will also improve your chances of making the high grade and it can familiarize you with how the test will be given.
  • Study partners. Find a friend or a family member to help you study by asking you questions about the material you have learned. You can also get creative and use a flash card system to study certain aspects of the course.
  • Take your exam early in the day. This way, you are fresh and ready to go. Many massage home-study courses give you the freedom to decide when to take the test.
  • Get food. Eat a light meal before you take the test. It will give you energy and help keep you from being drowsy.
  • Take a step back and a deep breath. About 30 to 45 minutes before your test, do some stress-relieving exercises. Deep breathing, yoga and meditation will help you to calm down.
  • When starting the exam, make sure to read all of the instructions first. It sounds like a no-brainer, but many students forget to do this.
  • Scan the test. Review the length of the test and figure out about how much time you will need for each section.
  • Don’t get stumped. If you come across a difficult question, move on and come back to it later. Answering the easier questions will also help boost your confidence.
  • Review. When you’re finished, review what you did–and make sure you answered every question.

–Jeremy Maready