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5 Test Anxiety Resources

Some students may occasionally experience mild test anxiety that can affect their academic performance. We see this most often when there is a trend that students do well on homework and feel prepared going into exams, but then feel anxiety during test time and receive lower scores as a result. Here are a few ideas to help your student overcome anxiety and have a sense of confidence and peace during tests:

  1. Check out Youtube for some great test anxiety meditations. Student should listen to these recordings at least twice a day for 2 weeks to see results. Here is one we like:
  2. There are also a large number of great apps available on android and apple phones. If you do a search in Google, search for “test anxiety apps” and you’ll find highly-rated apps ready to download for easy listening.
  3. Breathe in, breath out. Breathing techniques are the easiest way to help mild test anxiety. Here is one we love:
    • Sit comfortably.
    • Take a long, deep breath and exhale it slowly while saying the word “relax” silently.
    • Close your eyes.
    • Let yourself take ten natural, easy breaths. Count down with each exhale, starting with “ten.”
    • This time, while you are breathing comfortably, notice any tensions, perhaps in your jaw or forehead or stomach. Imagine those tensions loosening.
    • When you reach “one,” open your eyes again.
  4. Do timed practice exams at home to simulate the testing environment. Timed practice tests help students get a sense of familiarity with the test questions, the time limitation (vs homework which is done at a relaxing pace), and feel more confident for in-class tests because they “have done this before.”
  5. Consult a therapist for moderate to severe test anxiety. Moderate-severe levels of test anxiety can have underlying causes that may need to be addressed. There are several great therapists in the Tri-Valley area that help with test anxiety.

Want to find a tutor to help prepare for exams? Call us today at 925-353-2832 or

Top 6 Ways to Improve your SAT or ACT Scores

Parents often ask us for advice about how to improve SAT or ACT scores. We have compiled 6 top ways to help your student reach their maximum potential score.

  1. Limit extracurricular activities the day before the exam. All SAT and ACT tests are on Saturdays, and we strongly advise students to limit all activities the Friday before the exam that could affect stress, their sleep schedule, or ability to review/focus on SAT/ACT material. Skip sports games, movies with friends, and late-night social media and watch scores go up, up and up.
  2. Register for at least 2 official exams in a row. A common mistake is to put all eggs in 1 basket (basket = test). Registering for at least 2 back-to-back official exams helps to alleviate test anxiety and pressure to succeed. We see a strong trend that students naturally experience a higher score on their second official attempt.. even if they haven’t done much studying between tests.
  3. Take practice exams. Practice tests allow students to familiarize themselves with the standardized exam questions, as well as identify areas that need fine-tuning. There is, however, a distinct limit to how much this can help. We have found that 3-5 practice tests are ideal. More than this can have no significant impact, other than burning out interest and enthusiasm. We offer both proctored practice exams as well as convenient at-home tests (See link below for dates/info).
  4. The necessary evil.. Homework! Too often, students think that tutoring or prep classes alone should 100% prepare them for official tests. But this is not the case. Practice helps students reinforce concepts, discover pacing goals, and work through weak areas to improve scores. Expect to spend approximately 2 hours on homework after each prep class or tutoring session.
  5. Preparation. Whether your student chooses our Mastery Prep Class or 1-on-1 tutoring, preparation is the #1 key to success and has a huge impact on overall scores. Standardized tests can be written in a format and style that appears like a foreign language, so it is important for students to “learn the language” and feel comfortable with the material.
  6. Start your prep 6-8 weeks before your first official exam. As an example, if your first official exam is October 1st, start preparation around the beginning of August. The reason for this is simple – students don’t typically retain material longer than 2 months.


Want to learn more about SAT and ACT Prep options? Click here for more information.