When testing leads to anxiety – an open Q&A with Katrina Taylor

Updated: May 21, 2019

Reading and Math Florida Standards Assessments, Geometry End of Course Exams, AP Biology Exams and IB Spanish II Exams. As they take final exams for their courses, it is common for students to feel the pressure build.


Team Duval News recently sat down with Katrina Taylor, Director of School and Behavioral Health, to discuss how students can conquer their test anxiety and come out on top during test day.


Team Duval News: Describe how test anxiety can affect students.

Katrina Taylor: Well, we have a lot of students testing in May and dealing with anxiety in general. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder. It impacts one in eight children, so one in eight youth will have either general worry or fear in social settings, or physical problems such as headaches or upset stomach. When we talk about test anxiety in particular, it’s a thing that causes a fear.


TDN: What are some emotions that students feel when they get test anxiety?

KT: When it comes to test anxiety, some have that ‘I can’t,’ mentality that makes them feel insecure. It makes some feel as though they’re not good enough. There’s a lot of pessimism that comes with test anxiety.


TDN: We know that some anxiety can be normal. What are signs that it has become abnormal or unhealthy?

KT: It becomes abnormal if they have a general worry or fear for a period of two to four weeks consistently. So, if a parent sees their child is calling everyday saying ‘I want to come home, my stomach hurts,’ and the Pepto Bismol didn’t help. The key word is “consistently,” here. Not one day I’m fine and the next day I’m not fine.


TDN: What are some tactics students can use before or after a test to help them get rid of anxiety?

KT: The first thing they can do is deep breathing and practice mindfulness – something as simple as taking one or two minutes of putting their feet flat on the floor and laying back in a chair with their hands on their lap, and just doing a deep breathing technique before they take their test. They can also journal or write. Write out what is causing that fear. Listen to music. A lot of times music can calm students who are dealing with test anxiety.


TDN: Where can students go for additional help if they do need it?

KT: If you’re seeing that your battling anxiety in general, your first option is your school counselor. Let them know you’ve been having stomach pains or headaches whenever testing comes up. That school counselor can complete a full-service school referral. Once they do their screening, they can determine whether or not you need more intensive support. School counselors can also do test anxiety groups and give you strategies on how to decrease your worry or fear associated with test anxiety.

Reading and Math Florida Standards Assessments, Geometry End of Course Exams, AP Biology Exams and IB Spanish II Exams. As they take final exams for their courses, it is common for students to feel the pressure build.

Team Duval News recently sat down with Katrina Taylor, Director of School and Behavioral Health, to discuss how students can conquer their test anxiety and come out on top during test day.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon

© 2019 Duval County Public Schools