It's that time of year again when schools start testing what you have learned this year, and to make sure that you are ready to move to the next challenging year. So, does the thought of testing make you nervous and cause your palms to sweat? If it does, there are several things you can do to beat that test anxiety.
First, if you are feeling a little stressed out about tests, you are not alone. Most kids feel some form of anxiety or nervousness when faced with a test. This can be the simple sweating of the palms, or that butterfly in the belly feeling, or even the sudden urge to use the bathroom.
But for other kids, it can become much worse. Their anxiety can cause them to panic. Their heart races, their palms sweat, their vision blurs, they feel like they're going to throw up, tears well in their eyes, or they can even blank out for the entire testing period. According to AMTAA, "About 16-20% of students have high test anxiety. Another 18% are troubled by moderately-high test anxiety." This can pertain to any test whether it's a spelling test, a math test, or one of the annual testings that occur across the United States. So what can you do to get ready for tests and actually beat the anxiety they might bring?
Don't keep your anxiety to yourself. If the idea of taking a test cause you any nervousness or anxiety, talk to your parents, your teacher, or even the school counselor. They can help you learn ways to calm those feelings. This might include forms of Yoga, meditation, or even breathing techniques. In addition, if taking the annual tests with all your peers is the problem, your school might have an alternative that will let you take the test with just the moderator in the room. But if you don't share your feelings, they won't know how to help you, so ASK FOR HELP!
Be prepared. This can include all the things that you can do to make the testing easier like a good night's sleep, eating breakfast, no studying the night before--and definitely no last minute cramming.
Do the best you can. All year long, knowledge has been seeping into your brain through your class work, homework, and class discussions. You will always know more than you think when anxiety starts forming in your brain. If you make a mistake, let it go. Don't beat yourself up over it, just move on to the next question. It is okay not to be perfect. If there is a question you don't understand--and your moderator has said it was okay to ask, then ASK for clarification. Don't just get locked into one question. If you still don't understand it, move on--let it go.
You are way to young to remember Frank Sinatra singing the "High Hopes" song, but part of it is about a "little old ant" who moves a rubber tree plant. How does he do it? He has high hopes. Basically that means that you can do anything if you just try. I have faith in each and every one of you, so like the ant--you can beat test anxiety by asking for help, being prepared, and doing the best you can.