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Three Tips to Reduce Test Stress from Sal Khan

Whether you’re prepping for a biology exam, taking the SAT or studying for the LSAT,…

  • November 9, 2019

Whether you’re prepping for a biology exam, taking the SAT or studying for the LSAT, it’s natural to feel some stress. But there are simple steps you can take to manage exam anxiety and reduce test jitters.

In a new video released today, Sal Khan, founder and CEO of the nonprofit educational organization Khan Academy, shares three tips for reducing stress around taking important tests.

In addition to working at Khan Academy, Sal is the founder of Khan Lab School, a nonprofit mastery-based school in Mountain View, California, where he teaches middle and high-school aged students.

He is the father of three young children and a trusted teacher to the 18 million learners who use Khan Academy each month.

An estimated 25-40% of students may have test anxiety, according to the author of Anxiety in Schools.

Sal’s tips for reducing stress around important tests are:

  1. Build a habit of practice
  2. Share your feelings
  3. Keep a bigger perspective

“It’s totally normal for students to feel nervous in the days and weeks before an important test,” Sal says. “We’d like to help by providing practical tips for reducing stress. We hope our advice will equip students to do their very best on test day.”

Sal has learned from experience that when you build a habit of practice it helps prepare for key exams. He recommends taking practice tests to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, and focusing on areas of weakness on a regular basis. “The best chance we have to improve our scores is by regularly working on our weaknesses in the weeks and months leading up to the exam,” he says.

Sal shares personal reflections on the benefits when you share your feelings. “Do yourself a favor and be vulnerable,” he says. “Talking about your insecurities with people you trust helps lower stress. You’ll walk into the test more relaxed and better equipped to do your best.”

Sal also talks about how important it is to keep a bigger perspective. He says our test scores are only one measure of our knowledge and experience. “Remember, no test score can capture everything that is unique about you and no test score can ever encompass all your potential,” he says.

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