How to Fight Test Anxiety

by | Aug 4, 2017

How to Fight Test Anxiety

Your stomach clenches and your palms are sweaty. The adrenaline is pumping in you and you need to decide what to do! We have all experienced this panicked reaction at some point in our lives and the typical response is either fight or flight.

With some students, this reaction happens whenever they take tests. For them it is more extreme than being worried about getting a good grade. These students suffer from test anxiety and it results in them scoring poorly on tests. Often these students will earn decent grades with homework and in-class assignments. Although, when it comes time to take the test, they often experience a heightened state of anxiety and are unable to really show what they know.

One of the most common reactions to the excess of adrenaline is to “blank out” on what they learned. They look at the test, and even though they studied, they can’t remember a thing. Students with test anxiety may also be distracted by other students. To the student in panic, faster students may “appear” to know what they are doing, which makes the anxious student feel bad that they don’t know the content. However, it is important to remember that going fast doesn’t always mean that they know the material. If you know a child who suffers from test anxiety, here are 10 strategies that they can do to help reduce their anxiety:

  1. Be prepared for the test. When you know a test is coming, schedule in your study times. Don’t cram the night before. Start studying early.
  2. Make flashcards or do practice problems. If you are given a study guide, use it!
  3. Get a good night’s sleep the night before your test.
  4. Avoid speaking to other students who are not prepared and likely to say negative things.
  5. If you feel the panic set in, stop! Take some deep breathes to calm your body down.
  6. Change positions to help you relax.
  7. Push negative thoughts out of you brain.
  8. Read directions carefully so you know what the test is asking you to do.
  9. Skip the question you are stuck on and move the next question that you can answer. Sometimes other questions will help trigger what you know for answering the questions you skipped. Always go back to skipped questions afterwards.
  10. On short answer questions, use part of the question in your answer to start you going.

Help your student reduce test anxiety by practicing the above strategies. If they can study with another serious student or an adult, that can deepen comprehension of the material. Remember, don’t let the panic take control. Breathe…then do one step at a time.