202: 25 Ways to Reduce Testing Anxiety

testing anxiety


show notes

This podcast is special for a few reasons:

  1. It’s with Jed Applerouth, who is not only a close friend but also knows a TON about testing (he taught test prep for years, runs a Applerouth Tutoring and is one of the leading voices in our industry on test prep).
  2. Jed has a PhD in Educational Psychology and is a research nerd (he’d laugh if I said this, and probably agree with me) and he’s studied facets of student cognition, memory, motivation, and learning strategies… but having said that:
  3. This episode is incredibly practical. I asked Jed for 10 ways to reduce test anxiety and he gave me 25.
  4. It’s a video. So if you’re only listening to the audio version, go to collegeessayguy.com/podcast and click on the “Jed Applerouth” episode. Or just go to YouTube and search “College Essay Guy Test Anxiety Jed” and you’ll find it.

On this episode we discuss, among other things:

  • How common testing anxiety is (you may be surprised)
  • How anxiety functions in the body
  • Strategies for changing how you think about anxiety #reframing
  • Some ways you can understand and adjust self-talk
  • What cognitive rehearsal is and how it can help
  • A brief intro to the emotional freedom technique
  • How regulating your breathing can help

I loved listening to Jed drop these 25 bits of wisdom--I hope you do too.


2:45 Who is Jed Applerouth--and what is “Pink Fury”?
5:31 Why is anxiety in education important?
8:45 How common is testing anxiety? (#1)
9:39 Where does anxiety come from? (#2)
10:05 How anxiety functions in the body (#3)
11:39 Draw confidence from your other strengths (#4)
13:08 The power of self-care (#5)
13:45 Writing about your testing anxiety (#6)
14:38 Change how you think about anxiety (#7)
15:58 Build on tiny victories (#8)
17:12 Understanding and adjusting self-talk (#9)
18:10 Correcting maladaptive self-talk (#10)
19:41 Speaking to yourself in the third-person (#11)
21:00 Personifying negative thoughts (#12)
22:05 Cognitive rehearsal (#13)
23:07 Regulate your breathing (#14)
24:40 What is HeartMath? (#15)
25:21 The power of exercise (#16)
26:07 Holistic relaxation (#17)
26:32 Sleeping enough (#18)
27:43 Posture (#19)
29:13 Tapping: the emotional freedom technique (#20)
30:37 Exposure to nature (#21)
31:00 Human connection and physical touch (#22)
32:10 Grounding yourself in physical objects (#23)
32:41 Using mental images or wisdom figures (#24)
33:25 Replicate testing conditions as closely as possible (#25)
35:05 Jed’s favorite stress-reducing techniques
38:05 Ethan’s favorite stress-reducing techniques
39:08 One final bonus technique (#26)
40:05 The key to integrating these 26 tips
42:46 Jed’s show and tell
43:38 Ethan’s show and tell