3 Ways to Tackle Test Anxiety

It’s crunch time during this busy time of year!

Many children are prepping for EOG’s and teens are prepping for finals plus end of the year projects. It can be a stressful time for both parents and their kids especially when test anxiety creeps in. Luckily, there are helpful strategies of what to do before taking a test and during the test to help with reducing this anxiety.

Before Taking A Test

Be prepared. It’s important to have gathered information about the test before it occurs. For example, is it multiple choice or essay format. It is also helpful to know will there be breaks, what can I have with me in the room, and will the test be timed. Knowing more information can help alleviate some anxiety about the upcoming test. Start to practice in the same format of the test related to practicing with multiple choice options by creating your own questions.

Understand your learning style. It can be helpful to know the best way in which you retain information. For example, do you learn better when you write the information down visually or when you hear the information orally. Use those same methods when you study. It can sometimes be helpful to study with other classmates taking the same test.

Practice self-care. Taking care of your physical health before a test can also increase confidence and focus when you are body is feeling better. For example, ensure you have a break from studying, get good sleep, and make healthy food choices. This will increase concentration needed for the test.

During The Test

Take 5 breathing technique. If you are feeling anxious during the test, use the ‘take 5’ breathing technique to concentrate on your breath and then return your focus. You take the index finger of one hand and trace your fingers of the other hand while breathing in as you rise to the top of your finger and breathing out as you follow your finger down. You can put your hand on your lap so others are unaware and you will be able to calm your mind and focus back on the test.

Self soothe. Try squeezing your fists or chewing gum. Engaging in the five senses can be an encouraging way to self-soothe. Squeezing your fists like you are squeezing the juice out of lemons or chewing gum (if allowed) is a way to connect more to your body. Also, wearing something comforting to you like a soft shirt or having a bracelet that you can touch can help with redirecting focus from anxiety to the task at hand.

Positive self-talk. During times when you are feeling stuck or unsure, having a mantra to tell yourself can be encouraging such as ‘I will try my best’ or ‘I can do this.’ Negative self-talk can distract from your focus and increase your anxiety levels. If you have scrap paper during your test, you can write your mantra at the top to remind you to have this focus throughout the test.

You did it! The test is complete. Make sure you take time to reward yourself for reaching your goal like getting some ice cream with a good friend.

Need additional strategies to prepare you to overcome test anxiety? Connect with me and we’ll create a personalized plan just for you.

Renee Pugh