Calming Strategies for Test Taking

As my students get ready to take standardized tests, I always focus on strategies they can use during the test to help themselves if they find themselves feeling overwhelmed, nervous, or just generally dysregulated. Even if they haven’t been feeling anxious leading up to the test, the pressure in the moment can sometimes feel insurmountable. Below you’ll find test taking calming strategies that kids can use during the test to help themselves feel calm, confident, and ready!

Test Taking Calming Strategies

Controlled Breathing Exercises

Simple breathing exercises can help kids regulate their heart rate and breathing rate during the test if they start to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Practice things like:

  • In through the nose, out through the mouth
  • Trace your fingers breathing
  • Square breathing
  • Figure 8 breathing
  • whatever breathing. techniques you prefer!

To practice, use easy breathing technique tools found here on this blog post.

tools for teaching kids controlled breathing strategies

Test Day Mantra

Having a test day mantra, or a self talk phrase, that is helpful, encouraging, and grounded in reality is a great strategy for kids to have in their back pockets. They can repeat this phrase to themselves during the test to remind them of their worth, remind them that this is just a test, and that they are in control of their thoughts. Read more here.

self talk kids can use on test day during standardized testing

Grounding Strategies

Grounding strategies help kids feel connected to the here and now in their present environment. There are a lot of ways to do this! I have a list of a few of my favorites on my blog here (there’s a free download with some grounding strategy cards. you can give to your students!).

Grounding techniques for kids

Modified Progressive Muscle Relaxation

If students find their bodies feeling tense and tight during the test, they can try modified progressive muscle relaxation strategies! They can try things like:

  • Squeeze your fists for 5 seconds, shake them out
  • Squeeze your biceps for 5 seconds, shake them out
  • Raise your shoulders for 5 seconds, lower and roll them out
Looking for helpful Test Taking Calming Strategies? Try these 4 strategies to help your students feel calm and ready!

Keep Reading:

Looking for helpful Test Taking Calming Strategies? Try these 4 strategies to help your students feel calm and ready! Great for test anxiety school counseling activities, test anxiety lessons, test anxiety lessons, test prep activities, test prep lesson and more.

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