Coping With Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a common among students. Some students get a bit jittery or nervous before tests, but some get so anxious that they have trouble taking or completing the test. If your teen’s or tween’s test anxiety causes low grades, or the inability to take tests, you may need to seek help, but start with these methods that are recommended by counselors first.

Preparing For The Test:

  • Use the study habits that work best for you. Some students learn and remember by reading aloud. Others write notes on index cards and have someone question them.
  • Prepare so you have enough time to study. Don’t cram!
  • Work with a study group if this helps you. Be sure this a group that has the same goal in mind as you – studying.
  • Prepare your supplies the night before – pens, pencils, calculator and paper.
  • Get a good night sleep the night before the test. This can be difficult, but go to bed on time.

The Day of The Test:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Bring a snack to eat after the test.
  • Take something with you that helps you feel calm – a lucky charm or something that brings you good memories. Even if you can’t take it out during the test, you know that you have it with you.
  • Leave your house a little earlier if possible so you’re not worried about arriving late.

Right Before The Test:

  • Gather up your confidence. Think positively.
  • Don’t use the time before the test to study. It will create more anxiety for you. Read a book or talk with friends who aren’t worried about the test.
  • Use breathing techniques to help you calm down.

During The Test:

  • Read the directions carefully. Some students like to look through the entire test first to plan their time.
  • Take your time.
  • If you are done before time is called, go over your answers.
  • If you begin to feel anxious, use relaxation methods, such as breathing techniques, or positive thinking.
  • If you feel that it is getting out of control, speak to the teacher.

After The Test:

  • Learn what worked for you and what didn’t.
  • Reward yourself for your accomplishment.
  • Discuss with your parents and or counselor how you felt about taking the test.

There are programs for teens and tweens with test anxiety. Schools are often your first stop. Teachers and guidance counselors can be a great source of information and support. They along with you and your child can determine if you need to seek further help.

Does your child have test anxiety? What have you done to help him or her?

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. Both my girls are pretty good at test taking, but I do make it a point never to get them all stressed out about it by harping on an imminent test or nagging them about studying, etc. I just try to approach them like regular homework assignments.

    I remember how I was in school – I was a complete mess when it came to tests. I always did well on them but the emotional and mental toll on me was extreme.

  2. These are great tips. I was always a good student but I’m a notoriously bad test taker. I think part of the reason I do so poorly on tests is that I got nervous and cannot concentrate. These would have definitely helped me as a kid.

  3. Plenty of sleep and studying are key.

  4. Connie Roberts

    CJ, I was the same way. I literally got sick when I had midterms and finals or tests like the SATs. I actually fainted one time. Thank goodness it was at home!

  5. Connie Roberts

    I wish my parents knew about this for me when I was growing up Corrin. I did well on tests but made myself a nervous wreck before hand.

  6. Connie Roberts

    I like your style mar, straight and to the point!


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