Testing Anxiety: TA Talk Follow Up

Testing Anxiety: TA Talk Follow Up

Last week, I was pleased to serve as the guest speaker for TA Talk: Conquering Testing Anxiety. This workshop was designed for parents to gain insights into supporting their children in overcoming testing anxiety. With ACTs, SATs, APs, and final exams right around the corner, we know this issue is on the minds of many TA families. Here is a brief take-away from what we learned on Thursday:


What is test anxiety? 

Test anxiety is a performance anxiety fueled by fear of failure. 

What happens during test anxiety to the brain? 

The perceived threat of the test activates the limbic system into “threat” mode, which interferes enormously with the pre-frontal cortex’s functioning (the part of the brain you want to work well when you’re taking a test). 

Is there any hope? 

Yes! Your child can conquer test anxiety through their own efforts, the guidance of their tutors, and your support.

What can we - Tutor Associates - do? 

Our tutors have a toolkit of evidence-based interventions for addressing test anxiety and select the most appropriate ones to use with your child. These approaches can range from preparation of an optimal test-day mindset by using expressive writing exercises, mindfulness, or visualizations to long term interventions that affect your child's approach and attitude to testing overall. 

What can you – the parent – do? 

1) RESTORE HOPE. Tell your child that test anxiety is not permanent. We at TA are very focused on developing a growth mindset in our students, rather than a fixed mindset (read more about this here). Through effort and applying strategies, your child can manage test anxiety and become a better test-taker.

2) REASSURE. Help your child understand that anxiety is natural before and during tests. In fact, a certain amount of anxiety is helpful! The key is to manage test anxiety so that it does not overwhelm the testing experience.

3) LOWER THE STAKES. Provide context to your child. Sometimes a student has the sense that his or her entire future depends on one official test. In reality, your child has lots of options for how and when to take these tests, and can take the ACTs and SATs multiple times. By reminding your child of this, you can ease the pressure that leads to test anxiety. 


As always, your TA team is here if you have any questions. Interested in learning what more you can do to help your child cope with test anxiety? Give us a call at 646-638-3504 or email Sasha at sasha@tutorassociates.com.

Sarah Evans, LCSW
Emotional Health & Well-Being Associate

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