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Techniques to Ease Anxiety Before Standardized Tests

written by: Julia Bodeeb • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 4/5/2012

Teachers can help students build a positive mindset to help them achieve strong scores on standardized tests. Testing is very stressful for students so be proactive to help them find ways to beat the stress and utilize their academic potential.

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    Teenagers often have intense anxiety before standardized tests, particularly those tests that determine if they will earn the right to graduate from high school. It is important to teach students tips throughout the year to handle their anxiety about upcoming testing days.

    There are also many classroom strategies teachers may use to help students feel comfortable with the skills that will be used on standardized tests.

    Deep Breathing

    Teach students to utilize the method of deep breathing during testing day. If they get overwhelmed they should take a few deep breaths and close their eyes for a few seconds. This helps them to focus on calming their body.

    Visualize Success

    Teach students to visualize the day they hear they received strong test scores. Visualizing helps one have the mindset of success when working on a task like a standardized test. Professional athletes use visualization to imagine winning their events. This tool also works well to help students eliminate anxiety and focus on building a positive mindset that will help them achieve success on standardized tests.

    Encourage Exercise

    Students who exercise are better able to focus on academic achievement. Exercise helps one handle stress. It also helps one fall asleep easier and sleep deeply.Exercise is a wonderful tool to use when feeling stressed about standardized tests.So encourage students to go out for a walk and prepare to feel their best on the day of testing.

    Meet Regularly with Students

    Meet regularly with students to discuss their progress on practice tests. Talk about their strengths in the skills needed for testing to build their confidence. Give them suggestions to improve areas of weakness.Let them know you are available for extra help as needed.

    Build student confidence by letting them know they have the skills needed to perform well on the upcoming standardized test.

    Take Practice Tests

    Help students build confidence by utilizing practice tests to emulate standardized testing throughout the year. Once students get comfortable with the format and time limits on practice tests they will feel much more confident when the day arrives for actual standardized testing.

    Create a Checklist of Items Needed for Testing Day

    Prepare a checklist for students to help them prepare for testing day. On the list note items needed such as pencils, calculator, watch, and other needed items. Tell students to also write in other items they feel they will need with them on testing day.

    A Lucky Token

    Some students feel that carrying something in their pocket that they consider “lucky" is a good way to relax on testing day. If anxiety starts to overwhelm them they just reach into their pocket and feel the lucky items.Some students like to carry a stone or a symbol of a four-leaf clover or a replica of a horseshoe. Many items may serve as good luck charms. So perhaps a mention on these tips would give students some comfort on testing day.


  • Teaching experience.