Test Anxiety: How to Help Students Overcome It (page 3)

By — Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education)
Updated on Dec 8, 2010

Students are encouraged to:

  • consistently develop good sleeping habits, especially during the week of the test, and maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • avoid cramming, develop good study habits and good test taking skills.
  • wear comfortable clothes during the exam and maintain a comfortable and relaxed body posture during the test.
  • be aware of time allotted for the test, read directions carefully, and for time management purposes leave questions blank that they are not sure of and attempt to answer them later.
  • not compare themselves to other students while taking the test.
  • take deep breaths and attempt to regain composure when anxiety levels are high or when negative thoughts are present.


Test anxiety is something that impacts students from all ethnic backgrounds and grade levels. Helping students learn to effectively manage such anxiety is a challenging task that requires a genuine team effort. Students, parents, teachers, school counselors, and school administrators must all find ways to be actively involved in reducing test anxiety. We live in a test-taking society and when students are anxious during tests, they are less likely to perform up to their academic potential.


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Sarason, I. G. (1988). Anxiety, self-preoccupation, and attention. Anxiety Research, 1, 3-7.

Sarason, I. G., & Sarason, B. R. (1990). Test anxiety. In H. Leitenberg (Eds), Handbook of social and evaluative anxiety (pp 475-496). New York: Plenum Press.

Syncamore, J. E., & Corey, A. L. (1990). Reducing test anxiety. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 24, 231-233.

U. S. Department of Education (1993). Help Your Child Improve in Test-Taking.
Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.

Wilkinson, C. M. (1990). Techniques for overcoming test anxiety. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 24, 234-237.

Zeidner, M. (1990). Does test anxiety bias scholastic aptitude test performance by
gender and sociocultural group? Journal of Personality Assessment, 55, 145-160.

Zeidner, M. (1998). Test anxiety: The state of the art. New York: Plenum Press.

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