Key Takeaways

  • Students with test anxiety can get help under the American Disabilities Act, which includes changes in the testing environment and extra time to finish exams.
  • Ways to manage test anxiety include planning study time, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, practicing relaxation techniques, and talking about your worries.
  • For testing accommodations, you need documents from a health provider showing how anxiety affects your test performance. Schools must provide support like quiet rooms or breaks during tests.
  • Classroom accommodations might involve emotional support from teachers, a safe classroom setup, clear instructions for assignments, and flexibility with deadlines.
  • You should talk to your school about these accommodations and look into other resources like disability advocacy organizations for more help.

Feeling nervous before a test is normal. But for some students, this worry goes beyond normal nerves. It becomes so strong that it gets in the way of their performance. This kind of extreme worry is what we call test anxiety.

Did you know that students with serious worries like test anxiety have rights under laws like the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and 2008? They can get special help when taking tests.

Our blog post talks about how to get this help and what kinds of support are available for students who struggle with anxiety during tests. We cover everything from how to show you need these accommodations to specific changes that can make testing easier for you.

Reading on will arm you with knowledge and steps to take back control over your test-taking experience! Let’s ease those worries.

Understanding Test Anxiety

Test anxiety can present significant challenges for students. Managing this type of anxiety is crucial for academic success.

The challenges it presents

Students with test anxiety face big challenges. This condition can make them feel very stressed and worried in situations where they have to take a quiz or exam. It’s not just about feeling a little nervous.

Test anxiety can be so strong that it stops students from doing well, even if they studied a lot. They might notice their heart beating faster, or they might sweat more than usual. Some may even feel sick to their stomach.

Learning problems such as dyslexia could also play a role in making test anxiety worse for some teens and young adults. These students often work harder to keep up with their studies, which adds more pressure when tests come around.

Their worries about not performing well can lead to less focus and lower confidence during exams, creating a cycle that is hard to break.

Managing test anxiety

testing accommodations for anxiety - drawing of a clipboard with a paper on the front. The paper is titled "Anxiety Mgmt" and has a checklist

Test anxiety is a big problem for many students. It stops them from doing their best on exams. Here are ways to handle it:

  1. Learn about time management. Planning your study time can lower stress. Use a planner or an app to keep track.
  2. Improve your study skills. Find out what learning style works best for you, whether it’s reading, listening, or hands-on activities. This makes studying more effective.
  3. Get enough sleep before the test. A well-rested brain performs better.
  4. Eat healthy food on the day of the exam. Foods like fruits, nuts, and yogurt give energy and help concentration.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can calm nerves before and during a test.
  6. Prepare well for the exam. Knowing the material boosts confidence and reduces nervousness.
  7. Take breaks while studying to avoid burnout; short walks or stretches can refresh your mind.
  8. Talk to someone if anxiety gets overwhelming – teachers, friends, or family can offer support and advice.
  9. Use mindfulness exercises; focusing on the present moment can lessen worries about the test.
  10. Try positive self-talk; replacing negative thoughts with encouraging ones improves your mindset before an exam.

Testing Accommodations for Anxiety

Testing accommodations for anxiety can include adjustments in the testing environment and additional time for completing exams. These accommodations are designed to support students with documented anxiety disorders in demonstrating their knowledge and skills effectively during assessments.

Documentation and eligibility under ADA

To get testing accommodations for anxiety, you need documents that show your test performance is really affected by it. The ADA covers these situations and helps people with disabilities receive the support they need during exams.

Your mental health provider should give you the necessary paperwork to prove this.

Special rules apply to psychiatric conditions like test anxiety when asking for help on tests. The ADA provides guidance on what kind of assistance schools and testing centers should provide.

Make sure your documents clearly outline how your condition impacts your ability to take tests well.

Accommodations that may be available

Accommodations for anxiety in testing may include:

  1. Taking the test in a separate room to reduce distractions and stress.
  2. Having extended time for completing the test to alleviate time pressure.
  3. Allowing the use of assistive technology like noise-canceling headphones or word-processing software.
  4. Providing breaks during the test to manage restlessness and fatigue.
  5. Offering a quiet space for mindfulness meditation or coping strategies before, during, or after the exam.
  6. Giving clear instructions and advance notice of testing dates to help manage anxiety and prepare effectively.

Classroom Accommodations for Anxiety

Classroom accommodations for anxiety include providing emotional support, setting up the classroom environment and routines to create a sense of security, and giving clear instructions and assignments.

These adjustments aim to alleviate anxiety and create a supportive learning environment for students.

Providing emotional support

testing accommodations for anxiety - photo of a teacher providing assistance to her student

The teacher can offer reassurance and understanding to students experiencing anxiety. By acknowledging the student’s feelings and offering encouragement when needed, they can create a safe and supportive environment.

This helps in fostering a sense of security for the student, thereby aiding their mental well-being.

Classroom setup and routines

  1. Teachers can arrange the classroom to provide a safe and comfortable environment for students with anxiety.
  2. Implement specific routines and strategies like regular check-ins and creating positive relationships to support students with anxiety.
  • Regularly check in with students to monitor their well-being and offer emotional support.
  • Create a positive and inclusive classroom environment that fosters trust and openness.
  • Set up calming areas within the classroom where students can take a break if they feel overwhelmed.
  • Establish predictable routines, including clear expectations for class activities and transitions.
  • Provide flexible seating arrangements to accommodate individual student needs.
  • Incorporate mindfulness exercises into daily routines to help reduce anxiety levels.
  • Offer frequent opportunities for movement breaks to release tension and improve focus.
  • Use visual schedules and reminders to help students prepare for upcoming tasks or changes in routine.

Giving instructions and assignments

Teachers can support students with anxiety by providing clear and straightforward instructions for assignments in a positive and understanding manner. They can also provide flexibility with deadlines to alleviate the pressure on students facing test anxiety, ensuring that they have ample time to complete tasks without feeling overwhelmed.

By acknowledging the effects of anxiety on learning and memory, teachers can accommodate these students’ needs when giving instructions and assignments.

Accommodations for instruction might include changes to how classroom material is delivered, ensuring that it is accessible and understandable for all students, including those dealing with anxiety.

Conclusion: Next Steps

After reading this, it is crucial to contact your school to discuss accommodations. You can also explore additional support resources available for managing test anxiety.

Discussing accommodations with the school

  1. Start by scheduling a meeting with the school’s educational team.
  2. Bring along any relevant documentation regarding your child’s anxiety and its impact on their academic performance.
  3. Clearly outline the accommodations you believe would benefit your child, referencing specific examples if possible.
  4. Be prepared to discuss how these accommodations have helped in other settings or situations.
  5. Seek input from teachers or counselors who have worked closely with your child to gather additional insights into their needs.
  6. Request a follow-up meeting to review and finalize the accommodations plan for ongoing support.
  7. Keep an open line of communication with the school to ensure that the implemented accommodations are effective and supportive of your child’s academic success.

Exploring other resources for support.

When seeking support, consider connecting with disability advocacy organizations like the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

These groups offer valuable resources, information, and guidance for individuals with mental health challenges. Additionally, reaching out to local community-based mental health centers or university disability services can provide further assistance tailored to your specific needs.

Remember that finding comprehensive support through these avenues is essential in ensuring access to appropriate accommodations and understanding your rights under the ADA. By exploring these various resources, you can gain a deeper understanding of available assistance and secure the necessary support for managing test anxiety effectively.


1. What are testing accommodations for anxiety?

Testing accommodations are special changes made to the testing environment or process to help students with anxiety perform their best on exams.

2. Can I get accommodations for my anxiety at school?

Yes, if you have generalized anxiety or another mental disorder, your school can make a plan called an individualized education plan (IEP) to support you during tests.

3. How do I know if I qualify for testing accommodations?

You might need a psychiatric evaluation or neuropsychological evaluation to see if your anxiety affects your learning. This helps decide if you qualify.

4. What kinds of accommodations can help with test-taking anxiety?

Accommodations can include extra time on tests, taking exams in a quieter room, breaks during the test, and using tools like calculators or notes when allowed.