As the second quarter of the school year whizzes by, state testing, finals, and major exams can start weighing heavy on students’ minds. Regardless of whether they are in elementary school or taking SATs to move on to college, testing can be stressful and even create anxiety for students at any age. Apex Leadership Co. offers tips to help ease testing anxiety and exam-day nerves.

Oftentimes, anxiety and stress can build up if students feel unprepared. So, naturally, the best way to tackle this is by being prepared, and over-prepared in some cases! Helping students discover and understand their learning styles can help them create study patterns that will work for them. Just like every student is different, so is their approach to learning. Finding out the methods that work for them early on is essential to build upon throughout their educational career.

Create an Ongoing Study Schedule

Staying on top of grades is much easier than trying to pull up a grade. And the best way to maintain high grades is through consistency. Creating a daily study/homework schedule, ideally at the same time every evening and in a quiet spot, can help create consistency. Depending on grade level, a study session can consist of 10 to 15 minutes of flashcard review or worksheets to longer and more in-depth work such as taking online quizzes or spending time on large projects for higher grade levels. The more they review the material, the more confidence they’ll gain — and confidence is key when it comes to starving off testing anxiety.

Create an Inviting Study Space

Study time shouldn’t feel like a punishment. Rather, it should be a quiet and inviting experience that allows the student to focus in a relaxed and comfortable environment. The space should include ample light and a comfortable workspace station complete with all the items students might need within arm’s reach.

Take the Pressure Off

There is no doubt that doing well on tests is important for students to earn good grades. However, blowing one test is not going to impact a student’s entire life. It’s important for teachers and parents to be able to effectively communicate the importance of studying and having done their very best while also not putting too much pressure on students before a big test. Empowering them instead with the tools to help them reduce their anxiety and feel confident about the material is vital.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Making sure students get to bed early the night before a test can help ensure they are well-rested for exam day. Students should also allow plenty of time in the morning to get ready and enjoy a healthy breakfast. There’s no need to add to any testing anxiety by rushing to get out the door in the morning.

Do Some Breathing Exercises

Students that experience a panic feeling prior to a test may find relief in some breathing exercises to help them calm their nerves. However, if testing continues to create feelings of panic and anxiety, it might be best for a student and their parent or guardian to have a deep conversation about where these feelings are stemming from — and perhaps seek professional assistance so the student can overcome testing anxiety for good.

Parents and teachers of students that are experiencing ongoing testing anxiety can work together to formulate a plan to help best prepare the student for tests while also working to uncover the root of the anxiety. Test-day jitters are completely normal but testing anxiety can become an ongoing roadblock if not cleared up early on.