What to Do When Tests Give Your Student Anxiety

August 08, 2022

back to school anxiety

For some children and teenagers, a return to school means grappling with test anxiety.

Test anxiety is a form of performance anxiety, and it’s common in kids and teens. Even 25% to 40% of college students report having test anxiety.

What causes it? A feeling of lack of control and academic pressure surrounding tests and assignments.

Test Anxiety Symptoms 

Test anxiety can affect kids in both physical and mental ways, such as:

  • Stomachache
  • Headache
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping

This combination of physical and emotional reactions can interfere with a student’s ability to perform well on tests — which can contribute to more anxiety in the future!

How to Help with Test Anxiety

Watch tips to help children and teens with test anxiety.

How to Reduce Test Anxiety

Fortunately, there are ways to help your child or teenager reduce anxiety around tests.

Before test day

  • Dedicate a comfortable study space in your home for the student to use
  • Allow enough time for study to help your child retain information
  • Help your child get a good night’s sleep before a test

On test day

  • Provide a healthy breakfast
  • Encourage your child to keep hydrated
  • Slip a note of encouragement into their backpack or lunchbox

If your child could use more support with test anxiety, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is here to help. You can also talk to your pediatrician about finding a therapist or contact your insurance provider for a list of therapists in your network.