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6 Teachers Who Combat Test Anxiety with SEL Practices

6 Teachers Who Combat Test Anxiety with SEL Practices

As state testing season rolls around, many students are working hard to prepare for these exams. For those who struggle with test anxiety, this time of year is filled with dread and worry. Did you know that SEL (social emotional learning) practices can help alleviate some of the stress from your students that experience testing anxiety? We asked our awesome community of educators on our Facebook page how they can support students using SEL practices. Here are our favorite answers:

  1. “My priority with my students is to build a relationship with them. Once that relationship is built I never throw in pop quizzes or unexpected tests of any sort! I build trust and then I am able to comfort them and talk to them about the assessment they are taking. We talk about how their only competition is themselves, they have to show what they know! They also get a lot of motivational support, unlimited time, as long as they are on task. Breaks, and I also give my students gum for long tests. I also make sure that I tell them how hard they worked when they are finished!” – Emily K.


  1. “I created “calm down spots” in every grade level hallway and trained all students on how to use [them]. Each “spot” has fidgets, stress balls, reflection sheets, posters about calm breathing, and stress relief exercises. In addition, I created a “sensory trail” on the floor in a rarely used hallway. There are 8 color coded exercises to complete on the trail and posters detailing each exercise. During tests, students may ask to take a break and access the calm down spots or sensory trail to practice self-regulation.” – Emily M.


  1. “Modeling specific strategies they can use during the test beforehand, giving extra time, putting positive notes on their desks the day of the test to encourage a positive mindset.” – Michelle K.


  1. “Support their knowledge in a review. Break the test into sections.” – Diane M.


  1. “I use frequent breaks, and stress release items, such as putty or slime. These things really seem to help those who have high anxiety. I also break the test down as much as possible, depending on what type we are doing.” – Kari R.


  1. “Real time connections- reaching out by phone or Zoom to check in and talk about approaching the test in a different way.” – Julie S.

Looking for more ways to help support your students with text anxiety as state exams get closer? Check out these tips!