Ease Test Anxiety by Acknowledging the Fear
The first step to easing test anxiety is acknowledging it exists. No matter how many times we have taken a test a little bit of fear still slips in. Our students feel every bit of this.
Take the time to discuss the test as well as what students are worried about and then meet each of their fears head-on. Some fears will be rational, and others will be misconceptions you can clear up right away.
Ease Test Anxiety by Practicing Self-Care
Everybody needs a little self-care. We can be positive role models for our students by modeling what self-care looks like.
For students, self-care is all about taking time to take care of themselves. This means getting enough sleep, making sure their bodies are nourished, as well as taking care of themselves emotionally.
Some students will need our help with building a schedule that meets these needs. Ensuring our students have the opportunity to have balanced meals and get enough sleep will ease test anxiety.
Ease Test Anxiety with Positive Affirmations
When we are feeling anxious, about a test or life, it is easy to get down on ourselves. When you see this happening with yourself or students take the time to model positive self-talk and affirmation.
Teaching our students how to talk themselves through tough times is a life skill. Positive self-talk is not an instinct, but instead a learned skill.
In addition to positive self-talk, it is important to provide students with affirmations they can repeat to themselves. Everyone should be able to choose an affirmation which is meaningful to them, but it is great to start out with some everyone can use. One of my favorites is, “I can do difficult things.” I love this affirmation because it is applicable to every part of life.
Ease Test Anxiety by Celebrating Strengths
All too often we get caught up in what isn’t going well. We need to shift the focus from what we cant’ do (yet) to what we have mastered.
By celebrating our strengths we ease test anxiety and focus on what we can do.
You can celebrate academic, social, or life strengths. Nothing is off limits!
Ease Test Anxiety by Being Prepared
The best offense is a good defense right?
This isn’t any different when it comes to combatting test anxiety! Rigorous instruction all year long will help you and your students to feel prepared for the big test and lead to less test anxiety.
Of course, it never hurts to have a strategic plan for the last few weeks before the test. That’s where review comes in, and I would like to recommend the Test Smash Series as a way to collect student data, celebrate strengths, and build student confidence.
Ease Test Anxiety by Setting Attainable Goals
Setting attainable goals goes right in line with celebrating strengths.
My personal preference for setting goals is to set one large goal and then two to three smaller goals which will support the larger goal. This means more celebrations along the way!
Helping students to develop goals is a vital way to ease test anxiety because it helps them to focus on the future and strengths.
Ease Test Anxiety with Breathing Techniques
I am the WORST at this, but it is a powerful strategy I need to practice more often.
Calming breathing techniques are a life-skill our students can use for the rest of their lives. For a how-to on helping students with calming breathing techniques check out this link.
Ease Test Anxiety by Having Fun
Sometimes we have to just have a little fun!
Fun needs to be interjected because we work hard every day in the classroom. Sometimes this means playing a game outside together, and other times it means spicing up test review with a fun game. My favorite review game is Stinky Feet. It is a true crowd pleaser that will leave your students asking for more!
By having fun students are able to ease test anxiety and put their fears to rest, even for just a little while.
Ease Test Anxiety by Creating a Schedule
When you create a predictable schedule to prepare for the big test your students know what to expect and can then relax into it.
We are so often tempted to throw the regular schedule out the window and be all review all the time, but this sudden change can cause test anxiety to come bubbling to the surface. Instead, carry on with business as usual and use your time wisely to review.
Ease Test Anxiety by Being Active
Movement gets more oxygen to our brains and helps us to think more clearly.
By getting our students up and moving while reviewing for the big test we help them to conquer their test anxiety.
Movement in the classroom doesn’t have to be a big and elaborate experience. Every time you get students up and moving counts, and crossing the midline gets you bonus points!
For a post all about movement in the classroom click here.
Introducing Test Prep Academy
Test Prep Academy is a mini-course full of information on how to plan, prepare for, and execute your best test prep season yet! With five modules full of information that will take you from plan to action this mini-course will be your test prep lifesaver!
- Module 1: The Standards
- Module 2: Planning for Test Prep
- Module 3: The Superpower of Small Groups
- Module 4: Harnessing Cooperative Learning
- Module 5: Gamifying for Review
Each topic is covered with a series of videos and comes with a workbook to keep your notes neat and make implementation easy. You will also receive supporting documents to take the ideas shared from theory to practice in your classroom.