Defeating Test Stress and Keeping a Positive Attitude

As the school year starts to wind down, testing often ramps up. High school students are preparing for the SATs and ACTs as they look ahead to college. End of Course and End of Grade exams are quickly approaching too. This is a time when many students begin to feel anxious and stressed out, worried about how they’ll perform. They want to do their best to set themselves up for success.

All of the pressure to do well from teachers, parents, guidance counselors, peers, and even themselves can be overwhelming for students and put unnecessary stress on them. Parents can be supportive by encouraging students to start preparing early and to keep a calm mind.

Create a positive environment at home. Have an area set up for studying, but also one for some downtime and relaxation. Remind your student to take periodic breaks and start preparing early so they don’t feel like they have to cram right before the test. Also, ensure your child knows that you are proud of them and their efforts, and that one test will not make or break their future. Colleges look at a variety of factors, not just grades and test scores in isolation.

Ask questions. If your student is struggling with certain concepts, have them ask questions in class or after school to get clarification or extra help. Look through their materials and come up with some practice questions of your own, or have them practice with their study group quizzing one another. Many text books offer chapter reviews and there are test prep books as well with practice exams and questions.

Encourage a good night’s rest. The night before the test (and a few days leading up to it), make sure your child is getting plenty of sleep. Staying up late to study or pulling an all-nighter won’t do much to help them retain more information and can actually work against them because they’ll be feeling sluggish and exhausted the next day. This can make it more difficult to focus and recall what they have learned.

Fuel them up with a healthy breakfast. On the day of the test, prepare a nutritious breakfast to keep them full and focused. Include protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to reduce blood sugar spikes, improve alertness, and keep them feeling fuller longer. Avoid sugary cereals and pastries that don’t offer much nutritional value and can burn off quickly. Provide healthy snacks while studying too.

Practice calming exercises. Meditation and deep breathing can help your child to calm their body and mind before an exam. Have them listen to relaxing music on the way to school or spend a few minutes journaling their thoughts so they feel less stressed. Visualizing themselves doing well and repeating positive affirmations can also put them in a more positive frame of mind.

Sign up for test prep. If your student is really feeling the pressure, consider signing them up for a test prep course. They can learn diverse strategies to tackle different types of questions, develop better study routines, and gain an improved understanding of what to expect and how to feel more prepared.

Every student approaches testing differently and has their own strengths and areas for improvement. Crafting Scholars can create a personalized curriculum and customized plan to support your student’s academic and test performance. Contact us today to learn more about how our tutors can help your student defeat the testing monster.