Tips for Reducing Test Anxiety

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It’s common for high school students to struggle with test anxiety. About 20% of high school students and young adults experience high levels of test anxiety, and another 15% struggle with moderate test anxiety.

Many teens and young adults do not yet understand the difference between expected levels of test-taking anxiety and the kind of test-taking anxiety that interferes with successful performance on tests and potentially with academic and career trajectories.

That’s why the College Board has partnered with the Jed Foundation (JED) to support students through this experience from an emotional standpoint and provide resources that can help students reduce their anxiety so they can do their best on test day.

How to Cope with Test Anxiety

First, remember that test score won’t make or break your future. Colleges consider many factors as a part of admission including grades, coursework, essays, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and more. Many colleges have also made the SAT® optional as a part of admission. And if you’re taking a PSAT-related test, colleges won’t see your scores.

If you plan to take one of these tests, there are many strategies you can use to help calm your nerves before and during a test. The strategies emphasize keeping your mind and body calm, being well-prepared, keeping perspective, and staying focused on the test content.

College is a big step that comes with a lot of excitement, a fair number of nerves, and, sometimes, anxiety or stress. All of that is normal, and there are things you can do to plan for and move through the challenging parts so you can spend more time enjoying the exciting ones.