Three Ways to Help Kids With Test Anxiety

By Steve Dorfman

Test anxietyThe second half of the school year will soon begin, and for many parents that means a return to tests and the fear they instill in our children.

Often times test anxiety stems from one of two areas: fear of embarrassment and fear of failure. The main idea is to look to the root of the problem. Use positive parenting and these three tips to help your child lower their testing anxiety.

Prepare! The best way to overcome anxiety in any situation is to be prepared for it. This is as true of a test as it is of a musical performance. If we have a solid game plan and have considered what we will do in any situation that might pop up, we have a recipe for success.

Start early! The most difficult – but most helpful – way to alleviate testing anxiety is to start preparing really early. If, at the end of every week, our children simply review that week’s material and the previous weeks’ material, they will find that they are “magically” not stressed during testing. As long as students look over their work week-to-week, when tests roll around, there will be nothing to cram for – they will have already been reviewing for months!

Keep the results to yourself! All too often, our students share their results with everyone they know. The problem is that one of the major sources of anxiety is the fear that they will be embarrassed! That means that we need to make sure that our children learn to stop “over-sharing” personal information with everyone around them. When they get back test results, good or bad, they should make a point to only share their scores with their closest friends, assuming that child would not feel embarrassed by those friends’ knowledge of their test results.

Steve Dorfman is the founder of Tier One Tutors, a test preparation and private tutoring company serving students across Southern California. Learn more at

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