10 Tips to Ease Test Anxiety

Get strategies to help stay calm before a test.

Do you have a big test coming up? These tips can help you stay calm and focused:

  1. Make a “Test-Taking Playlist” with songs that will relax and inspire you. Listen to this playlist before you take your test.
  2. Use “One-Nostril Breathing.” While sitting at your desk, rest your face on your fist while closing one nostril. Breathing through one nostril will automatically slow down your breathing and provide a sense of calm.
  3. Practice mindfulness, or being aware of the present moment, on a regular basis, so that you can do a quick mindfulness activity before you start taking a test. Check out apps such as Calm, Mindfulness, or Relax Melodies.
  4. Get yourself “centered” before starting the test. Plant both feet firmly on the ground. Take three deep breaths and find specific items in the room to focus on. For example, find five things that are blue or four things that are shaped like a circle.
  5. Use positive “self-talk.”  Remind yourself that you are prepared, you’ve studied hard, and you know the material.
  6. Take a one-minute “sensory vacation.” Think of a favorite place or activity. Now imagine you’re there/doing it. What does it look like? What does it smell like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like?
  7. Picture yourself turning in the completed test and leaving the classroom. Imagine the feeling you will have when you are all done with the test.  No matter how you did, it will be over. Have something to look forward to later that day or week such as seeing a friend, doing an activity you enjoy, resting, etc. 
  8. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before a test.  Also eat a nutritious meal or snack before taking the assessment. You can also try getting a quick workout in before school to help increase focus and reduce physical tension. Limit caffeine, which can make you jittery and more anxious.
  9. Try getting to your test location early and make sure to bring all of your materials.  Arriving early will you give you more time to get seated, organized, focused, and emotionally ready to take the test.
  10. Before starting the test, think about the friends and family in your life who love you no matter how you do on this test. They will support you regardless of your successes or failures. 

Good luck!


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