One of the keys to high performance in cognition and test taking is mood management. Mood management is critical for high performance. Think of it this way – you’ve probably been in situations where you’ve been taking a test or other situations where you’ve gotten a little bit anxious or even a little bit panicky. What happens neurologically and from a neuro-scientific point of view is that your limbic system kicks in. What it and your amygdala do is begin to override and shut down your cognitive centers. There’s also a rush of epinepherin into your bloodstream that starts to interfere with your neurotransmitters. You get to a point where your analytical ability is seriously impaired.
Research shows that there are exercises that will raise your threshold of anxiety so you don’t get nervous, so that you don’t shut down, and so that you are relaxed, focused, and can perform at a high level. There’s also a great deal of research on the relationship between dopamine production and high performance. They found that when students can raise dopamine levels, their performance literally goes up by as much as thirty five percent.
There are a number of exercises that will not only raise your anxiety threshold so that you can operate a higher level of performance, but that will also increase your dopamine levels and therefore performance. These exercsis can make a real difference in your performance on the MCAT and give you a real edge when you take the exam.