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Test-Taking Tips Help Reduce Student Anxiety

Standardized tests are becoming increasingly common at all levels of public and private schooling. For many students, these tests can be a source of anxiety. But by following some simple strategies, both students and their parents can be fully prepared for success on test day:

Tip #1: Read all directions carefully! Oftentimes in test-taking environments, the adrenaline gets pumping and students read through instructions too quickly. Taking the extra time to slow down and make sure they understand the question not only saves students from making wrong answers, but also saves time in the long run.

Tip #2: Listen attentively to the teacher or proctor. It’s very easy to let anxiety take over while waiting for the teacher to start the exam. Talk to your child about taking a deep breath and not getting distracted from the directions the teacher is giving.

Tip #3: If the directions are confusing, ask! Your child’s teacher is there to help explain unclear directions. It is always better for your child to ask and be told by the teacher that they can’t answer the question than to not ask at all.

Tip #4: It’s OK to take a break. Time management is important, but not if it means that your child is going to burn out before the end of the test. If your child says that tests feel overwhelming and exhausting, tell him that it’s OK to put his pencil down and close his eyes, stare out the window for a moment or just take a few deep breaths. Just don’t lose track of time!

Tip #5: Manage time well. Good time management is critical to good test taking. It doesn’t matter if your child is in 3rd grade or graduate school, no one wants to run out of time on a test. Every question gets equal weight, so it is in your child’s best interest to skip questions that are particularly difficult and save them for the end. And if your child finishes early, answers should be double checked!

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