Test Stress and How You Can Help

Julie Laing and Bill Christy


It’s that time of the year again when students of all grades begin to feel their anxiety rise, as the end of the trimester and the possibility of an exam or a final paper loom large. For many kids, their fall has been a flurry of new faces and attempting to settle in—stretching their social muscles and finding their places amongst the student body. Within the whirlwind of all of that, it is suddenly November and that signals the closing of the first trimester of their year. Unfortunately, it also signals exams, final projects, and a rise in many of our students' stress levels.

This year in particular I think more kids are feeling suddenly overwhelmed. I believe this is due in part to the long span of time that they have had much lower expectations placed on them academically. When Covid hit, academics were no longer front and center. We wanted to make sure that their physical, social, and emotional health was stable and that became the focus for many of us parents and teachers. For some kids, this feeling of academic pressure is surprising or overwhelming simply because it is “new.” For others, they have always struggled with performance anxiety regarding school but have been able to largely avoid it during the pandemic. Either way, here we are and we’ve got to figure out how to support them as best as we can.

Here is an article that discusses “Test-Stress” in teens and gives some simple ways to help your student through those difficult moments. All of the suggestions are very helpful, but I’d like to highlight the “no caffeine” suggestion. This is an often-overlooked reason that I see kids feeling jittery and anxious. They don’t want to hear it but those energy drinks and fancy coffees are NOT helping them. As always, if you feel that you need some extra support in this area or in any other, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a restful break!