By Lori Lite

It’s normal for kids and teens to feel a little nervous before a big test, but test taking anxiety left unchecked can affect grades. Finals, a quiz or full blown standardized test can evoke feelings of stress, fear, and even panic.  All students eventually face an SAT, ACT, ITBS, CRCT,CTBS, or CAT. Even home schoolers face the PASS test. Studies have shown that students that practice relaxation achieve higher test scores. Empowering techniques of deep breathing, visualizing, and positive statements are easy to implement. Preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, college…. It is never too soon or too late to ease test taking anxiety with the following techniques.

Download (mp3) of “Affirmations Reduce Test Taking Anxiety”

Here are some signs that a child is stressing or overly worried about tests:

  • Doesn’t want to go to school, especially on test day
  • Cries or has melt-downs during the days leading up to a test
  • Changes eating and sleeping patterns in the days before a test
  • Puts herself down or calls himself “stupid”
  • Has an upset stomach or a tension headache before a test
  • Performs well on practice tests but not on the real test

A powerful stress buster for test taking anxiety is positive self-talk. Anxiety can be lowered and confidence boosted with this simple technique. The following statements can be used before and during tests.

  • I am calm and focused
  • I am relaxed and alert
  • I calmly trust my knowledge
  • I know the answer to this question and I will look at it again in a few minutes
  • I remember to breathe deeply during my tests
  • I have enough time
  • I have studied and I am prepared
  • Being calm helps me to remember more

Getting proper rest is essential to performing well at school and on tests. The Younger Children’s Relaxation Package and or Older Children’s Relaxation Package include stories that can help children to improve sleep, lower anxiety, control anger, and reduce stress.


Lori Lite is a pioneer in the field of children’s stress management and has dedicated her life to helping families reduce stress, anxiety, and anger.  Lori created Stress Free Kids and a line of books, CDs, and lesson plans designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Her work is considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, doctors, counselors, and yoga instructors. Her award winning children’s series, Indigo Dreams introduces children to stress management techniques through storytelling. Her constant upbeat presence on Facebook and Twitter @ stressfreekids and her new parenting book Stress Free Kids: A Parent’s Guide makes her a real-time resource for anyone seeking practical advice for stress free living.