Studying in a massage school not only involves practicing massage techniques but also learning about different theoretical aspects of massage therapy. Once you have studied and learned about massage, you will be required to give a test to prove your comprehensive understanding of the material.
This test will not only ensure that you are fully aware of the various massage therapy techniques, but it will also ensure that the knowledge you have acquired is adequate to allow you to succeed in your career as a massage therapist.
In many cases, students are quite confident about attempting the test simply because they put in the due time to prepare for the examination. Needles to say of course that students who are not well prepared may be under quite a bit of stress approaching the examination.
There are rare cases however, where massage therapy students may be well prepared, but are still immensely stressed. You may have experienced this before, and you may again. Maybe you are this type? The reasons is because they (or you) are suffering from test anxiety.
It’s not a big deal. Such anxiety is perfectly normal, especially during the first test you attempt. However, it is important to try and lower your anxiety levels as much as possible, and this is where this article comes in.
If you do not do anything about your test anxiety you may not be able to perform well. This is because you are more likely to make mistakes when you are anxious. There are numerous simple techniques you can use to relieve test anxiety. Let’s go over them in detail.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Preparing For the Massage Exam
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to wait until the exam is a few days away to start studying. This may sound common sense, but you will be surprised at the number of students who procrastinate all the way till the end.
Studying about all the things you learned throughout the year in a condensed time period is difficult. You need to space the study up. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for tests is to study as you go. Periodically revisit old lessons taken a few weeks or months back to reinforce the concepts. This will make studying for the final exam that much easier.
For instance, if you learn something new in massage class, be sure to revise it at home at some point down the road. This could allow you to master what you have learned. Of course, you can tweak this method in accordance with your preference.
For instance, you can accumulate everything you learned in class for a week and study it at the end of the week. This is called batch processing, or processing a large amount of information learned over several days/weeks/months into one sitting or a group of sittings. You can change this technique as per your preference and convenience, but don’t leave everything for the exam days.
If you are prepared in advance for the test, you should be able to relax more as the test date gets closer. This is not something you have to try at. It is a natural, psychological reaction that will likely automatically happen. You may still be anxious about the test environment and attempting it, but you certainly won’t have to worry about studying for the actual material covered in the exam.
Revisiting the Course Material Toward the End
It has already been established that you should study for the test all year round as opposed to the final days. This could help you prepare faster in the end. However, you should not leave everything to chance in the days prior to the test. These days are vital for revisiting whatever you have learned throughout the year.
This process should not be as tough as the actual learning process and should go fairly quick. Think about it as merely scanning the material for familiarity. As you go through each chapter, ask yourself whether you are comfortable with the core principles discussed in that chapter. If not, this is the time to brush your knowledge base up.
You do not have to read through everything you have learned verbatim. Just ensure that you are family with the material. You should also attempt the practical application of various massage techniques as well.
Generally speaking, everything that you have learned throughout the year should be practiced at least once or twice leading up to the final exam. The more you practice and revise, the better you will be able to remember the material when it is time for the exam.
Many students give great importance to the day before the test and try to study harder than ever before in order to get good grades. However, this is one of the worst things you can do. Instead of studying, you should relax.
You should get plenty of proper sleep and indulge in relaxing activities instead of burning the midnight oil. If you do not sleep and have your head buried in books on the day before the exam, you’ll feel tired while taking the exam and may not be able to give your best. You may also suffer from burn out at this point.
Learn To Concentrate Well in Exam Like Surroundings
The test environment is usually pretty calm. However, the anxiety can cause you to be distracted easily. If you cannot concentrate on your test, you will naturally not be able to attempt it properly. The easiest method is to study in an environment which is similar to the test room. This could help you concentrate and relax. Make sure that you do not leave this exercise for the final days. Again, it is all about conditioning slowly and steadily over time.
This exercise should be done all year round. In fact, you should make it a habit of studying in an environment similar to the exam room. It may help you remain relaxed when you are attempting the actual test since you will be familiar with the ambiance of the test room. Obviously, you should also make it a point to attempt practice tests in this very same environment.
Attempt Practice Tests Multiple Times
No matter how well you are prepared for the test, you can never be too sure of what you might come across. This is why it is a good idea to attempt multiple practice tests. Practice tests are drafted similarly to the actual test you are going to attempt. For instance, if a test has a couple of different sections, the practice test will be drafted the same way. In other words, it is a tool to help you become familiar with and navigate through the actual test.
How well you can attempt the practice test comes down to your preparation. Most massage school tests consist of multiple choice questions or MCQs. The trick here is to familiarize yourself with the test format. Otherwise you might end up spending a good amount of time just getting to know the test. Always remember that every second counts, and time is precious when attempting a time-limited test.
In most cases, your massage school will help you get familiarized with the test format. They help you attempt practice tests until you have perfected your ability to take tests. If your massage school is not helping you in this regard, you can always practice on your own or seek outside help.
Have Friends Examine You
One of the many benefits of having friends doing the same thing from a schooling and career perspective is that you can study with them. If you think you have mastered the practice test format, you should ask friends to challenge you. You can have them disrupt the order of the questions or even rewrite the questions. Since you will have to think harder to figure out the answer, spinning the questions could challenge you more. You can take turns and test each other out.
In summary, some anxiety is natural no matter what time of examination (or any other big event) you are approaching. However, by preparing for the “big event” methodically and over a long enough period of time, you can ensure your anxiety does not hinder your test taking abilities.
We know that the proven tips above will help you remain calm and composed throughout your test.
Practice tests are a great way to reduce anxiety and better prepare for your massage exam. Have a look at some of the best practice tests here. Browse around as you will see NCETMB, NCETM & MBLEx Practice Exams, National Massage Exam reviews, Massage exam study guides and Online Massage Practice Exams.
All the best to you!