It’s August 6 or 7. UPCAT review days are over. It's time for the big day. Maybe you thought you had everything under control but now, just hours before the UPCAT, you’re totally freaking. Or you have such a sense of nervousness and dread about this day that you don’t even want to go to your testing center.
These types of feelings can sometimes erase all the hard work and preparation you’ve done. But here are some ways to boost your confidence and keep the panic under control:
Get a good night’s sleep. Getting a full night of sleep before the UPCAT can be a HUGE help. You’ll feel better, think clearer, and be in a better mood to tackle anything UPCAT can throw at you. This is one of the best reasons not to put off last minute cramming: you’ve got to go to bed on time the night before the UPCAT.
Eat a healthy breakfast. Food is the fuel for your body and brain, so eat a balanced breakfast on the morning of the UPCAT. Load up on protein, but avoid junk food, too much sugar, or anything that might make you “agitated” during the test.
Avoid caffeine. You may be tempted to drink coffee, cold coffee drinks, caffeinated sodas, or “energy drinks” before the UPCAT. Although these drinks can make people alert, they might also cause agitation and make you nervous at a time when you want to be cool and relaxed.
Forget the consequences. It’s important to know how important the UPCAT is and what might happen if you don’t pass. These things will let you know how hard you should be reviewing and how seriously you must take the UPCAT. But once the day of the UPCAT arrives, you should try to put all this information out of your mind. Worrying and stressing about things like, “If I don’t pass UPCAT, I’m doomed!” will just distract you from the task at hand — and that’s doing the best you can on each and every question. Try to keep your mind on the UPCAT itself…not on what the UPCAT means to your future.
Just breathe. In the days before the UPCAT, practice taking deep breaths, especially at times when you feel stressed. Feel the air flow through your lungs and the calm move through your body. This is a skill you can use when you’re sitting down for the UPCAT. Breathe in. Breathe out. Keep a level head.
Think of something peaceful. Have a picture in your head of something that makes you calm, relaxed, and happy. It might be your bedroom, or the ocean, or somewhere you once hiked in the mountains. If you feel yourself start to stress, close your eyes, go to this mental picture, and try to chillax!
Think positive. Say things to yourself that will boost your confidence. Tell yourself that you know the material and you know what’s coming. The UPCAT can’t scare you and you’re totally prepared to ace it. Push negative thoughts out of your head. If you think confident, you’ll BE more confident.
Don’t “cram.” It’s important to start reviewing long before the UPCAT day, because rushed, last-minute “cramming” won’t help much and will probably just make you panicky and nervous. If you know your stuff, just relax and concentrate on getting into a calm mindset before the test begins. Stay away from other students who are freaking out about the UPCAT, as their super-stressed attitude might rub off on you.