PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Test Stress: Get Help

The bad news: you've got a big test coming up that's making you nervous.

The good news? You don't have to face it alone!

Even if you feel embarrassed by how you feel, speaking up about needing help can really make a difference.

Talk to your teacher. Teachers understand that students worry about tests. Ask your teacher if you can talk to him or her for a moment, and be honest about everything you're going through. If you have worries, fears, or anxiety -- whether it's a lot or a little -- own up to it. Your teacher will probably be able to help.

If you're worried because you think you haven't mastered all the class material that might be on the test, ask your teacher about:

  • Review classes. Would it be possible to stay after school or come in on a weekend to review class lessons or work? Ask your teacher if there's time to schedule something like this for any student who's interested.

  • Tutoring. Does your school have a tutoring program? Many programs let you study with older students or teacher's aides, sometimes during a free period or after school, to help you catch up on lessons.
Talk to a parent. If you're stressing out before an exam, the adults in your life should know about it. They can probably help you lower your stress with solutions like this:

  • Eating well
  • Getting some exercise or fun
  • Helping you study or find time to do it
  • Finding time to study
  • Getting enough sleep

By keeping an eye on your level of stress, your parents can do their best to try to make things easier for you. Of course, it's also important to make sure they don't make things worse. When talking to your parents, consider asking them NOT to add extra pressure by constantly reminding you of how important a test is. It's okay if they encourage you to study -- that's a parent's job -- but if they're a source of your stress, let them know.

Talk to a counselor. Most school counselors have had plenty of experience dealing with students who are worrying about tests or other school matters. Your counselor may be able to help you with:

  • Techniques to reduce stress
  • Ideas for good work and study habits
  • Ideas for boosting your confidence

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