Testing Terror

Dear Jitters,

          I'm really nervous and scared about the state tests. I can't stop thinking about them and worrying about how I'll do. Can you help?




Dear Anonymous,

          The weeks of state testing can be the most nerve wracking of the school year- if you let them. It's understandable to be somewhat on edge. After all, I'm sure your English and math teachers have taken many measures in preparing you and your class for this week. That's just it, however: there should be nothing on any section of the test that you are not fully capable of acing if cool and confident. I know you've heard a lot about getting the required amount of sleep and eating a filling breakfast, so it should come as no surprise that those things can be very effective, but only if you achieve a sense of calm in the first place. Though it may sound silly, I would recommend at least an hour of quiet before you go to bed from now until the tests are over. This means shutting off any electronics- iPods, phones, even the radio, if you use one- and relaxing in as complete a silence as you can possibly produce. Once it's silent, imagine yourself taking the test, pencil in hand. Next, look at yourself from above and beyond until you can no longer see yourself, viewing the roof of the school, then the entire town through clouds. Finally, “zoom out” far enough to observe world and all its oceans, continents, and microscopic people. Notice any changes in the way you look at your troubles? One thing they never tend to teach you in school is the power of quiet and perspective's ability to clear your mind of unworthy anxiety. Seriously, try it- and I swear you'll feel better about state testing as well as anything else that could be on your mind.

          I wish you the best of luck, even though you surely won't need it.