Test Prep

Taming Test Anxiety

Read these six helpful tips to raise test scores and lower anxiety.

The fear of academic testing itself, this debilitating issue often causes a significant decrease in testing scores, regardless of the student’s intellect or study time. Read these six helpful tips to raise test scores and lower anxiety. 

  • Stay Positive. Fear of failure brings unwanted results. Helping your student maintain a positive outlook not only affects the mood and thinking process but performance levels in daily activities. 
  • Talk It Out. Be an active part of your students’ academic lives. Tell them that they can always turn to you for help. Encourage them as much as possible. 
  • Avoid All-Nighters. Don’t allow your students to study all night and skip meals. Such tendencies can prove detrimental to their testing performance. Energy=Focus 
  • Procrastination is the Enemy. Anxiety can easily arise from a lack of preparation. Make sure that your student doesn’t wait until the last minute to study. 
  • Request to Test Elsewhere. Some schools allow students with test anxiety to take their exams in a private room without distractions and time restrictions. A calmer environment can make testing more comfortable. 
  • Study, Study, Study! Help your students study before the test. 10 or even 15 extra minutes of prep time can raise confidence levels and test scores. Frequent breaks are also important. A balance between work and rest is key. 

Cheat Sheet 


  • Be prepared.  
  • Don’t forget to bring your I.D., printed test ticket and calculator. 
  • Arrive early! Punctuality is important. 
  • Write your answers on the actual test before filling out the Scantron sheet. This method saves extra time. 
  • Skip the tricky questions and return to them later. This method also saves time and can lessen stress. 

We asked Monica Virgil at Mathnasium to share her thoughts on test anxiety. 

  1. What do you think causes test anxiety in most students? 

Test anxiety stems from a lack of confidence. Individuals experience anxiety when they feel that their ability does not meet the requirements needed to succeed at a given task. This feeling can be imagined or real. Either way, it causes the brain to shut down and not perform even if it has the ability to perform.


  1. Have you ever come across a student with this anxiety?

I have worked with many students with math anxiety or test anxiety. At Mathnasium, we are very successful at building a student’s confidence after just a few visits and eliminating math anxiety. Their test scores increase pretty quickly after a few short visits. Giving individuals the opportunity to succeed and the encouragement they need can do wonders.


  1. How can you tell the difference between testing anxiety based on fear and testing anxiety based on a learning disability?

Learning is never disabled, but it can be delayed. It is true that some students learn slower than others due to the inability to memorize and make necessary connections to retain concepts. Empowering students with the ability to retain material by teaching them how to make necessary connections can set any student up for success.


  1. How can parents help their students overcome test anxiety?

It is always beneficial to know how your child learns since every child does not learn the same way. Figuring out their mode(s) of learning and empowering them with that information is a great start.

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