How Teachers Can Help Students Cope With Test Anxiety Caused By Online Proctoring?

Test anxiety is something we have all experienced throughout our student life. We can all recall days when a test was coming up or waiting for your results afterward. Since academic success is often associated with personal worth, it can increase test anxiety among students. 

Teachers and educators need to encourage students to do their best. However, they should not push them too far, asit can turn out to be rather stressful. So how can you help students deal with stress caused by online proctoring? This article will give you some insight into the causes of test anxiety and how teachers can help their students.

What Causes Test Anxiety?

Most teachers and parents motivate students using the fear of failure. While a healthy amount of pressure is good, additional stress can usually have the opposite effect. Students might become so scared of their results that they won’t be able to focus on their studies. 

They struggle to retain information during the test, since they’re constantly worried about getting the right grades to pass that class. It can increase the student's stress, particularly those without a very bright academic record. 

Additionally, when academic success is associated with personal worth, students might become perfectionists. It means that they would rather focus on doing something exceptionally well or wouldn't try it at all. Therefore, they might procrastinate and wouldn't try something that they think they can’t do perfectly.

What Are the Symptoms of Test Anxiety?

While most students are under some stress when preparing for their tests, the intensity of test anxiety can vary. Some might experience anxiety till the day of the test, while others will be stressed even after the exam. Consequently, they might experience various symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of Test Anxiety

Most students might feel some physical symptoms of test stress, such as sweating, migraines,, etc. Additionally, students might experience panic attacks due to test anxiety. Knowing about the symptoms of panic attacks is vital, particularly if a student hasn't experienced them before. 

In most cases, panic attacks are due to intense stress or pressure that students might face when preparing for their exams. Rapid heartbeats usually accompany them, and it might look like the person is experiencing a heart attack.  

Emotional Symptoms of Test Anxiety

Besides physical symptoms, some symptoms of test anxiety affect the students emotionally. For instance, they might have negative thoughts about their past or feel stressed, helpless, etc. 

Stress can affect their mental health, and they might experience more severe symptoms. Since students link their academic performance with their worth, it leads to a feeling of fear that performing poorly would not reflect well on their personality. As a result, they might face some of these emotional symptoms.

Behavioral/Cognitive Symptoms of Test Anxiety

While many people see procrastination as a form of laziness, it usually indicates that the student is struggling with perfectionism. The fear of failing might take over students so much that they would avoid doing their tasks. 

Additionally, they would also have a hard time concentrating or focusing on their studies. Students might also start comparing themselves to others, oppressing their confidence and morale.

How to Help Students with Test Anxiety

As per the American Psychological Association, test anxiety can be defined as fear or worry about performance in a test. Teachers wouldn't want to see their students having to deal with that increased anxiety, leading to physical and emotional impacts. So here are some tips to help students deal with test anxiety.

Focus on Classroom Preparation Efforts

Firstly, teachers should make sure that the students are well-versed in the topics that will appear in the exams. They can review and go through all the vital details before the exam to reduce test anxiety. This way, students can polish their skills and comprehensively understand the topics appearing in the exam. 

It will also give students confidence and boost their morale before the test. Since most tests now happen online, teachers should help students learn how the system works. Students should be aware of these technologies and systems used during their exams.

Discuss With Students their Fear and Anxiety

Some students might not tell you about their feelings, but their behavior will show that they are experiencing some form of anxiety. It is best to learn about the issues students are facing or the reason for the test anxiety. 

This way, educators better understand the issues the students are going through. They can find the best solution for them to cope with tension and anxiety. As mentioned earlier, some students might feel shy in sharing their feelings. So it is better to ask them if they are facing any difficulties or issues.

Keep Things in Perspective

A single test wouldn't have a significant impact on the academic performance or career of a student. For an adult, it is relatively easy to understand this point of view compared to a student since you have already gone through that phase. So, you can help students understand this perspective by telling them that a test is not everything. 

They shouldn't stress too much if they don't perform well on one test. Instead, students should learn from the mistakes that they made and move on. Talk to students to understand the problems they face that are driving anxiety and stress.

Use Different Strategies to Reduce Anxiety

Students experiencing test anxiety will have the toughest moments when they will appear for their exams. At that moment, it is vital to take the necessary steps that can  mitigate students' anxiety.

Teachers should encourage their students to try out some mindfulness techniques to release their tension and stress. Also, discuss and develop some coping skills with students before the exams. This way, they can use those skills to deal with the anxiety acting up during the test and focus on their paper.

Help Them Learn Some Test-Taking Strategies

When it comes to taking tests, students need to have some skills to solve the questions. It will help them calm their nerves and give them the confidence to sit the test. The best practice is to ensure that students go thoroughly through the paper before they start attempting it. 

Also, they can start by answering questions they think are easy and know the answers to. It will help them manage their time efficiently and ensure that they can focus more on the difficult part of the test. 

Create a Schedule for the Test Preparation

Students suffering from test anxiety would be going through notes or different study materials for hours. Yet, they wouldn't be able to learn anything due to their frantic attempts to study. So, the best way to deal with this issue is to create a study schedule for students to have a clear pathway. 

You can check whether the students have all the study material they need to prepare for the test. Also, consider other time jobs, sports activities, etc., so they can manage to take a pause for doing other things. With a clear schedule, students will have more clarity regarding what, how, and when to study.

Looking at the Bright Side 

Most students dealing with stress and anxiety only look at the negative aspects. Therefore, showing them the positive aspects such as previous performances is vital. Moreover, you can explore their skills and let them know how they can use them to prepare for the test. 


For low-stakes tests, you might not need to focus too much on conducting any assessments. However, it can be a great exercise so students can build this habit of practicing before they appear for the test. They can identify the areas where they need improvement.

Tips for Students for Coping with Test Anxiety

Even after preparing for your exam, you might experience some anxiety during the test. Therefore, it is better to equip yourself with these strategies to help you deal with the anxiety that might start getting the best of you during the exam. 

Come Up with a Clear Plan 

Making the most of your test-taking strategies can help you beat the anxiety during your exam. A clear plan for your exam can help you complete your paper on time. For instance, don't stay on one question for too long or don't change your answer after choosing one option in multiple-choice questions. 

Change Your Focus 

If you feel stuck at any particular moment, you should change your focus to different things. For instance, if you encounter a difficult question that you need to understand, then you need to move on to the next one. 


Sometimes dealing with test anxiety would require special accommodations. You might take a short break to get your mind in order or would need additional time since they are doing the test at a slow. 


The stress and tension of tests can seriously impact the student's physical and mental health. As online teaching is becoming increasingly common, students still find it difficult to operate the technologies and systems. 

Therefore, it is more than vital to help the students deal with exam stress. The tips and techniques in this article will allow the teachers to help students focus on their studies and reduce their anxiety when appearing for the test. 


How can teachers reduce test anxiety?

Teachers can help students learn about different coping skills and develop a plan for their studies. They can also encourage them to focus on relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, that can reduce your anxiety during the test. 

How do you calm students before a test?

Educators can help students use their coping skills to deal with stress and anxiety during their exams. Also, focus on helping students with the preparation, so they are confident in appearing in the exams.

How do high schools deal with test anxiety?

Most schools address the issues that are increasing the stress on students before the test. They also conduct regular sessions to ensure that students don't lose track. 

What are the 3 causes of test anxiety?

The most common reasons behind test anxiety are no preparation, poor performance, and fear of failure.