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Testing 1, 2, 3

Jack Brockley | May 02, 2019

Woman covering her eyes with her hands.

The end of the academic year might seem like a student’s dream, filled with dances, parties, holidays and the promise of a break from classes. But to many teens, this time is more like a nightmare thanks to the threat of final exams and the resulting stress those tests impose. 

The American Test Anxieties Association reports that the majority of today’s students stress more about tests and schoolwork than any other factor in their lives.  Some 16% to 20% of students deal with high test anxiety, while an additional 18% experience moderately high test stress. In North America alone, 10 million students at all levels of education are affected. 

Test anxiety should not be underestimated. The ATAA cautions that it not only can lead to lower test scores, but also to avoidance of schoolwork, low morale and performance anxieties that can negatively impact a future career. 

How can you help the young people in your life navigate through finals? Try these tips from mental-health pros and students themselves. 

Give them time. Ease up on normal chore schedules or let them opt out of non-urgent family activities to allow teens to focus on their studies with fewer responsibilities, suggests Australia-based ReachOut, an online mental-health organization. 

Be a good coach. The Cleveland Clinic advises guiding students through a mental “test rehearsal,” helping them to envision remaining calm and successfully completing each exam. 

Help them take a break. Suggest that a book-bound teen put studies aside for a bit and do something to rest the mind. The website of the teen-founded nonprofit Anxiety in Teens suggests streaming a favorite playlist, taking a walk outside, writing in a journal or grabbing some colored pencils and a coloring book for an instant mini mental vacation. 

Read more about teen stress in Kiwanis magazine: Use URLs below:

  • Stress test
  • Pressure points
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