Avoiding Test Anxiety

By | February 16, 2020

Dealing with Test Anxiety

 Major testing is coming soon for most grade three through high school students: unit testing, term testing, state testing, SATs, ACTs  and other three- to four-letter titled exams. For many that brings anxiety. Here are a few prep steps to help students relax and focus on doing their best.

  1. Use practice tests to familiarize the student with the types of questioning that may appear on the tests: true – false, multiple choice, writing short essays, reading graph or chart, filling in bubbles, etc. When a student is comfortable with the various forms of questioning they will be able to relax. Don’t push them to study ahead of the test unless that is required by the test.
  1. Practice using test taking tips:
  • answer easiest questions first but remember to go back if skipping a question on the page so you will receive the most number of points possible.
  • In multiple choice questions, think through the answer/eliminate the ones that are least correct or incorrect. Avoid second guessing.
  • Read the possible answers BEFORE reading the related article or information. It help with staying focused.
  • Know if skipping answers will be penalized OR if leaving answers blank is okay and will not drop your score.
  1. Remember: Kids do their best when adult pressure is low or non-existent. With that in mind provide:
  • encouragement by using positive mantras and helping students envision positive outcomes
  • calming strategies for timed students feel stressed. Try deep breathing, stretching, counting to 10 before going on to the next question or thinking about a calming idea or a place where you’ve felt peaceful.
  • a good night’s sleep the night(s) before
  • a nutritious breakfast
  • a pocket snack
  • a water bottle


  • for anxious students send along a note of encouragement such as

                        Do your best!              You can do it!                         You rock!

                                      Trust yourself and your judgment!