Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety Services


Sandstone specializes in helping students understand and overcome test anxiety by offering the following services:

  • Individual Counseling
  • Group Counseling
    • Tackling Test Anxiety Group (8 weeks, $40 per session)
  • Workshops Provided in the Community and Schools (Upon Request)
    • Workshops for Teachers: Understanding Your Students’ Test Anxiety
    • Workshops for Students: Tackling Test Anxiety
What is Test Anxiety?

It is perfectly natural to experience some anxiety when thinking about taking a test or when about to take a test. A certain level of anxiety can actually help students perform well on a test. However, for some students (approximately 25%) the anxiety can be so intense, it can interfere with the ability to reflect true abilities on the test. Symptoms of severe test anxiety include: blanking out, freezing up, racing thoughts, nausea, headache, dizziness, racing heart, difficulty breathing, fear, a sense of failure or wanting to “give up” before even taking the test, and feeling read to cry. Severe test anxiety can result in performing poorly on the test, which can lower a student’s self esteem and reinforce the test anxiety.

The good news is that test anxiety is highly treatable! Research shows that the most effective treatment for dealing with test anxiety is to address academic concerns (e.g., study skills, exploring underlying issues to academic problems) and dealing with emotional concerns (i.e., anxiety). Sandstone offers a variety of ways to help with test anxiety

What Causes Test Anxiety?

Oftentimes, test anxiety is misperceived as simply worrying about not getting a “good” grade on the test. Actually, test anxiety can be very complex, deeply rooted, and may represent just the tip of the iceberg. There are many causes of test anxiety, including:

  • Fears about how others will view you if you receive a low grade Ex. My teacher will think I am dumb and my family will be so disappointed.
  • Concerns about your own identity and self-image Ex. What does this mean about me if I don’t get a good grade?
  • Worries about your future Ex. If I don’t do well on the SAT, I won’t go to a good college and will never have the life I want.
  • Not feeling prepared for the test Ex. I didn’t study well enough and now I won’t be able to answer the questions.

Sometimes test anxiety is related to previous trauma experiences and/or underlying issues such as ADHD and learning disabilities. One or more of these causes can then trigger a flight, fight, or freeze situation that causes adrenaline to impact your body during the test.

Description of Sandstone Test Anxiety Services
Individual Counseling

Sandstone provides individual counseling for managing test anxiety. Test anxiety can be treated through both cognitive and behavioral techniques. Therapists can help you to understand your test anxiety, including its sources, causes, and triggers. Therapists can then help you learn how to manage your anxiety before, during, and after the exam. Improving test anxiety can result in better academic performance and self-confidence.

Group Counseling

Group counseling is an effective way for treating test anxiety and helps people connect with others who are experiencing similar problems. Beginning November 2014, Sandstone will offer groups geared for test takers at various stages in their lives. We will offer groups specifically for students who will soon be facing important tests such as the PSAT, ACT, SAT, and other proficiency tests generally required for college and university acceptance. A separate group will be offered for test takers who are experiencing anxiety related to taking an advanced test such as the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and other tests. A general group is provided for students in colleges and universities who are finding themselves struggling with anxiety related to tests.

 Sandstone currently offers the following group:

1) Tackling Test Anxiety is an 8-week support and skills group that helps people understand and learn to cope with test anxiety. ($40 per session)    

*Please see our Group Counseling schedule for current groups/times. 

Workshops Provided in the Community and Schools

For Students

Sandstone is passionate about primary intervention methods and addressing test anxiety directly in schools for children and adolescents. Teaching anxiety management early on in a student’s life allows students to practice techniques that can lead to greater academic success and prevent the development of more severe test anxiety later on in life. If your school can benefit from workshops for your students, please contact us. We can help students approach state-wide and national exams with more confidence and with skills to reduce anxiety that can impact their test scores.

For Educators

We also offer workshops for school educators and counselors on how to help their students reduce the anxiety associated with exams. We provide consultation on how to talk about tests, how to practice relaxation techniques with students, and how to support students as they prepare for exams.