Sitting for an MCAT test is quite a nerve-wracking experience. Most students tend to panic and break down over MCAT tests more than any other exam. Results from multiple surveys show that test anxiety associated with the MCAT test is the second biggest challenge facing MCAT students after reading speed. When not adequately controlled, these anxiety levels tend to cloud your thinking and significantly slow you down leading to poor performances.
How to minimize anxiety levels associated with MCAT test
Anxiety, just like happiness and sadness is part of the natural human response and it serves a unique purpose. It helps to prepare your body for fight or flight resulting in increased alertness and triggering body response that can be lifesaving. Unfortunately, experiencing an anxiety disorder during your MCAT test prep or when sitting for the test does you more damage than good. The activated survival mechanism affects your brain’s ability to process information efficiently.
Are you experiencing test anxiety disorder? Medical studies show that meditation is the most suitable antidote for your anxiety. The goal of meditation is not to suppress anxiety entirely but to help you cope with it and maintain it at a healthy level.
For you to understand the principle behind the effectiveness of meditation in reducing test anxiety, you need to comprehend what happens in your brain when you are experiencing extreme anxiety.
How does your brain get affected by extreme anxiety?
Increased anxiety levels are said to change the brain structure and also disrupt its functioning. It triggers the release of high amounts of hormones known as epinephrine. These hormones cause an imbalance in neurotransmitters responsible for facilitating communications between brain cells.
Anxiety also activates several parts of your brain which includes the amygdala. Amygdala is an almond-shaped part of your brain which is under tight control from the prefrontal cortex and responsible for triggering anxiety response. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, is responsible for executive functions such as decision making, understanding social behavior, and planning. Under normal circumstances, the prefrontal cortex examines the threat associated with an external stimulus and suppresses the threat if it’s non-threatening.
Unfortunately, when we are under extreme anxiety, the prefrontal cortex fails to suppress amygdala, therefore, engaging your entire limbic system. The sympathetic nervous system then takes over and ends up overcoming your rational ability. This is where meditation techniques become useful, as they can lead to healing London.
Meditation, just like anxiety, changes the functioning of your brain but in a healthy way to help reverse the damages caused by anxiety. Meditation techniques such as controlled breathing help to coax your body into a more relaxed state. You learn how to calm your mind and effectively suppress the errant thoughts that lead to test anxiety and to help you navigate through most challenging situations in life, . Doing so helps to boost your concentration during MCAT test prep and additionally increase your reading speed to better your performance when taking MCAT tests.