Testing Season: The Stress and How to Overcome It


Micah Tolton, ENN Staff

Simply the mere mention of testing season can cause sweaty hands and nervous looks on students’ faces. For many high school students the months April, May, and June include nothing but studying and taking test after test. Whether it’s for the End of Course exam, Advanced Placement test, SAT, or ACT most students are spending their nights reviewing vocabulary and going over old notes to make sure they get the perfect grade. Although as much as teachers may talk about preparing for the tests, what about coping with the stress of it all?

According to the American Test Anxieties Association approximately 16-18% of students have high test anxiety, while another 18% have moderately-high test anxiety. As a result, many students “blank” when taking a test due to the increased reasoning confusion and reduced working memory caused by their test anxiety.

For juniors, this year can one of the hardest times especially if you don’t take the time to study and procrastinate. Morgan McGrath, 11, is taking three AP tests this year but is overcoming the stress with a tactic.

“When I first thought about all the tests I had to study for I was stressed and worried that I wouldn’t have enough to time. Now that I’ve set goals to do a little bit each day, it makes studying more feasible and less stressful,” said McGrath.

It’s no surprise that student athletes can sometimes have more pressure and higher expectations put on them opposed to regular students. They not only have to juggle practice and games but also handle the same amount of work a typical student can find themselves struggling to complete.

“Stress definitely affects the way I feel at school. I am exhausted and I don’t feel like doing the work. Plus add swimming on top of that, so I am hit extra hard. But I have to remember that it’s almost over,” said junior Jeffrey Gordon.

On top of studying for later tests, student also have the task of keeping up with their current grades and class assignments. With the extra studying and current work flow it can be hard for a student to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities, a social life, and time for relaxation. This can ultimately affect the way a person feels every day and having this routine can be emotionally and physically draining.

While Morgan McGrath said she handles the stress by working towards her test one day at a time, junior Kylie Sheppard says she just tries to forget about all of it so it doesn’t hurt her score.

“I normally just try not to think about it too much because if I overthink the test then I’ll do worse,” said Sheppard.

Finding ways to maintain and decrease the amount of stress you have is definitely important but not always easy. Here are a few ways to eliminate stress during testing season:

  1. Manage your time: Chances are if you don’t procrastinate you won’t be as stressed.
  2. Go over old reviews and tests: Seeing your past mistakes and reviewing notes can help prevent you from making the same one in the future.
  3. Clear your mind: For some this may seem impossible, but if you take the time to relax and breathe you won’t only feel better after but you probably won’t be as worried about the test.
  4. Be confident: It’s easier to doubt ourselves than to believe that we can achieve what we want. Although reversing this mindset will help you on the test and in life.
  5. Treat yourself: Studying shouldn’t be all work and no play. After a good session take a bath, put on a mask, or go out for ice cream with friends. Don’t forget that you have a life outside of school.
  6. Apps, apps, and more apps: In today’s world there’s an app for just about anything— even studying. Download an app to help you track how much you’re studying and how long you’re studying, that way you’ll see your progress!
  7. Vent: We all do it, or at least come to a point in life where we want to. Venting, ranting, complaining— whatever you want to call it, helps. Take time to sit with your best friend and just let it all out. You two can even take turns pouring out your hearts and chances are you’ll feel better afterwards.
  8. Exercise: Most people can’t even fathom the thought of running the P.E. mile, let alone willingly exercise. But surprisingly exercising is a great, healthy way of reducing stress and staying active.
  9. Sleep: Something we all need but also most of us don’t get enough of. It’s reported some students only get 5 hours of sleep per night opposed to the 8-9 hours we’re supposed to get. So take some time to just sleep. All day.
  10. Breathe: Remember to breathe! It’s all going to be okay! Odds are the world won’t end if you make a lower grade than expected. All you can do is try and believe in yourself.