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Deep Breathing To Help With Test Anxiety


Many students completely stress out when they have a test. They might be totally prepared and know everything on it, yet they are so scared and worried that they become unable to show what they know. There are some strategies that might help. Learning how to breathe deeply is a good place to start.

When a person is stressed, the body produces adrenaline which is the hormone that creates the “fight or flight” response. During this response, breathing is quick and shallow and the body’s oxygen supply is directed to the legs and arms in order to protect oneself from danger. Deep breathing can actually help reduce the level of adrenaline in the body, increase the oxygen level in the brain, and help a person relax.

If your daughter knows the material when studying at home but gets too anxious when taking the test, teach her how to do this deep breathing exercise. She can reduce her anxiety while sitting at her desk about to start the test. No one will even notice.


  • First, have her inhale slowly through her nose and hold the oxygen in her lungs for a couple of seconds.
  • Next, she should slowly exhale through pursed lips. The stomach should rise and fall as she breathes.
  • Tell her to repeat this for several minutes until she begins to relax.


She needs to practice this at home until it is easy to do and feels natural to her. At home, you can help her practice when you notice she is getting angry or worried about something. Later, on test day, she will know what she needs to do.

Deep breathing will only help her to perform better if she is prepared for the test. If not, the source of her anxiety might be that she knows she is not ready to take it. In that case, she needs to learn how to study. Check out the study skills archive of articles for ideas to help her learn how to prepare for tests. 

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