Many people say that they get quite nervous before an exam, and that it can actually negatively affect their performance. This has never really happened to me, and I’ll try to explain why. The first reason is that I usually prepare for exams starting from the beginning of the semester. I’ve had time to digest the information and prepare sufficiently. Not feeling ready for an exam can be very stressful, so keeping on top of your studies and not cramming can really help.
On top of this, I usually get plenty of sleep the night before the exam, which helps with keeping calm. Lack of sleep in and of itself can be problematic but it usually also leads to caffeine (or other substance) use, which triggers the release of adrenaline, kind of making it hard to stay calm. I know it’s easier said than done but really try to get enough sleep before an exam and try to avoid heavy drinking caffeine if you want to stave off nervousness.
Your mindset going into the exam can also have quite an unexpected impact on how you physically feel. Try to keep in mind that there are many variables that go into an exam score that you can’t control, you did what you could so there’s no point in worrying about it right before. One thing that can help is having a rule of not going over material at least an hour before the exam. It might seem like that hour could make or break you but taking that hour off to relax and get into a good state of mind could actually increase how effective you are in the exam. Go into the exam room optimistic, with a smile on your face, and let whatever’s going to happen happen.
Finally, one thing that has to be stated is that people are different. Some people inherently feel more nervous before an exam and some people feel calm. Don’t compare yourself to others, just try to focus on being in as good of a state of mind that is reasonable to expect of yourself.