In the next few months...
Begin studying early.
Attempting to cram the entire field of veterinary medicine into the last few weeks before the NAVLE® is a surefire way to reach test day feeling unprepared and anxious about your performance. Plan ahead to ensure that you will have time to study everything, so that you can enter the test feeling confident in your knowledge.
Clarify anything that you are unsure of.
If there are specific topics that you’re struggling with, take the time to look into these topics. Do additional reading, talk with a classmate, or ask a professor. Ultimately, this is a far more effective approach than just crossing your fingers and hoping these topics won’t show up on the NAVLE®!
Learn relaxation techniques to use on test day.
There are a number of simple relaxation techniques that are known to help manage test anxiety. In the Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method, you tense all the muscles in your body (grasping the underside of your chair and pushing your feet into the ground) and then relax, repeating this process two to three times.
In the Palming Method, you cup your hands over your eyes (with your fingertips on your forehead and palms on your cheeks) and envision a relaxing scene for one to two minutes. Either of these techniques can easily be performed at the test center during the NAVLE®. Practicing before the exam will ensure that you are comfortable using at least one of these methods on test day.
Get directions to the test center.
Print them out or write them down, so that you have a backup if your GPS is down or your phone battery dies on test day! Ideally, you should make a practice run to the test center, on the same day of the week and at the same time of day as your test, so that you can get a feel for traffic and know how much time you need to allow.
The day before the NAVLE ®...
Don’t study (too much).
It’s okay to review your notes on a few key topics, but don’t do a lot of studying the day before the NAVLE®. Last-minute cramming won’t result in successful learning, but it will raise your anxiety level!
Whether it’s watching a favorite TV show, taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood, or fitting in a favorite workout, take a break from studying and spend some time doing something enjoyable.
Prepare for test day.
If you’re driving, make sure that your car has plenty of gas (or a full battery). Figure out what you’ll eat for breakfast and what you will take to the test center for snacks and lunch. Lay out your clothes…and remember to wear layers, because the test center could be hot or cold! Set out your keys, wallet, phone, and anything else you might need, in order to ensure a smooth and stress-free morning!
Go to bed early.
A good night’s sleep will improve your test performance! I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. It’s hard to cope with anxiety when you’re exhausted.
On the big day...
Eat a healthy, tried-and-true breakfast.
It’s important to fuel your brain, but this is not a great time to try a rich new meal that might not agree with you! Eat something simple and filling. Drink coffee if you normally do so; but, if you’re not a coffee drinker, today is not the day to start!
Get to the test site early.
Once you arrive, however, avoid the temptation to sit and talk with classmates that may also be there for the NAVLE®. Their anxiety might rub off on you. Instead, sit in your car or find a quiet area at the test center where you can sit undisturbed.
Use relaxation techniques before and during the test, as needed.
Before the NAVLE®, you learned to use Palming and Tensing and Differential Relaxation to alleviate anxiety. When you sit down at your computer, use one or both of these techniques before beginning the exam. Repeat these techniques as needed throughout the day!
Take periodic stretch breaks.
Every 10 or 15 minutes, look away from the computer monitor. Roll your shoulders, stretch your neck, close your eyes for a minute, and take a few deep breaths.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Test Anxiety.