How to Beat Test Anxiety

There’s no way around it — taking big exams like the SAT and ACT is stressful. But with the right skills, you can manage it. Robin Leigh Maier, a licensed clinical social worker and mental health counselor in Tampa, has these simple, practical strategies for letting it go.

Robin Maier
  • Admit it. Simply acknowledging that there is a lot of stress surrounding standardized tests can help you feel better about it. Prepare well in advance, take practice exams, and work where you feel comfortable. Keep your study materials organized. With practice, breathing techniques will become automatic, even during the most stressful times.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Hydration and protein-rich foods help you focus.
  • Sleep well. Remember to set multiple alarms for the day of the test so can relax, knowing that you’ll get up on time and arrive early. Regular movement calms your mind, allowing you to focus.
  • Get help. If you have a learning difference, make sure to ask for the support you need to do your best.
  • Stay positive. Don’t spend tons of time obsessing over the exam with friends and sharing negative thinking.

Most importantly:

  • Be consistent. These strategies work best when you have been practicing them consistently in advance.

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