Five Techniques to Help Students Overcome Exam Anxiety

What do Godzilla and final exams have in common?

Author: Lauren Crews

They both strike fear in the hearts of people. Incorporating these five techniques into your instruction time will help your students overcome their exam jitters and boost their confidence.

Help students overcome their exam jitters and boost their confidence
  1. Practice Strategies

    Repetition is a principle of learning. Provide your students with multiple opportunities to commit testing strategies to memory. Consistency ingrains skills, and they become second nature at test time.

    Teach students to review the entire test and decide how to tackle it. Can they answer questions they know, circle question details, and eliminate wrong answers? Using basic strategies often improves scores.

  2. Test Language

    Students likely know the material but freeze on test day because they don’t understand the questions. We assume kids recognize words like infer and summarize. Can we confidently say they know the difference between discuss and evaluate? They must understand the test question. Many online resources offer lists that help students build their testing vocabulary.

  3. Incorporate Study Skills

    Most students wait until the night before to cram for a test, yet studies show cramming is counterproductive and increases stress. Many students don’t know how to study. Incorporate highlighting skills, outlining, and writing summaries into weekly lessons.

    They will learn how to study and will better retain the material. Frequent low stake assessments will reaffirm understanding, and they will trust their ability to master a more significant test.

  4. Encourage Privacy

    Studying together and quizzing each other right before the exam is tempting, but refraining from this is more beneficial. These last-minute reviews may backfire and bring to light areas of weakness, adding stress.

    Instead, try practice tests that can be used as study guides well before finals. Remind your students everyone has strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on their plan, they won’t be derailed by comparison.

  5. Take a Breath

    Never underestimate a good night’s sleep. Encourage your students to arrive rested to better focus and concentrate during the test. This will also help them to better cope with test anxiety. Build opportunities during the semester for your students to practice breathing and relaxation exercises that can be used on test day.

    Practice visualizing success and replacing negative self-talk with positive. On test day, encourage them to stand or stretch when given a break. Changing positions will keep their blood pumping and allow a brain break.

Your students will easily overcome exam jitters with a few simple practices. For more information check out Tips for Tackling Anxiety.

About the Author

Lauren Crews

Lauren Crews graduated from Jacksonville University. Lauren began her teaching career as a substitute. She became a Junior high Language Arts teacher and served as department head for thirteen years before moving to high school. Lauren is a multi-award-winning, traditionally published author.

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