Test Anxiety

By Morgan Kimball

I have always hated taking tests. The sweaty palms, the butterflies in my stomach, the brain fog, and rereading questions over and over again. Can your child relate to having test-taking anxiety? According to Ron Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and of Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine, he states “the underlying reason is time or the lack of it, rather than the amount of preparation. For instance, many dyslexics struggle with speed and/or comprehension in reading. They instinctively feel that they must ‘try harder.’” 

Working hard isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be the enemy of the dyslexic in the area of reading when test-taking. A little nervousness can actually be helpful when taking a test, making you feel alert and ready to tackle any questions on the test. But when those anxiety levels get to be high, it can make it difficult to concentrate and remember. 



Here are some tips to help with test anxiety: 

  • Know how you learn best.
  • Outline what you think will be on the test.
  • Organize the materials into sections.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep and avoid last-minute cramming the night before. 
  • Eat a good meal. 
  • Look through the entire test first and answer the questions you know first. 
  • Take deep breaths – when you start to feel anxious, deep breathing may be useful for reducing anxiety.