Ace and Luther

Ace and Luther

Dear Ace and Luther, I have severe test anxiety. I get really nervous walking into a class on test day. I start sweating and the room starts spinning and I feel like I’m going to throw up. Is there anything you can do to help me conquer my fear of tests?


Sweat Stains

Sweat Stains,

What you need to do is go out and have some experiences that are truly frightening. Go to the zoo and jump into the tiger cage. Go swimming in a pond with an anaconda. Go on a vacation with Dr. Vesper to Afghanistan. Read Mrs. Dalloway in Chuck Webster’s class. Pretend that you are going to prom with Mr. Thomas.

Those are the kinds of frightening experiences that can make your test anxiety seem trivial by comparison. When you are a high school student, you are not regularly exposed to situations that can put school in perspective. Academics are important- school is your most important job right now. But there are other things that are truly life and death that matter so much more than your grade on a test. The next time you are stressed about a test, think about a 10-year-old kid in the hospital with leukemia. Consider someone who just lost a close family member and is grieving. And think about the teenager who is living in homeless shelters. Then think about your test again.  It shouldn’t matter as much anymore.

Of course, the simplest way to minimize your stress level about a test is to study early and often.  So quit being a blubbering whiner and open your book.


Sweat Stains,

First, you should do as Ace has suggested and prepare as best you can. There is nothing to fear going into a test. No test you will ever take will deprive you of your life, your home, or your precious sweat glands. Should you find yourself in a situation in which a test is a matter of life or death, feel free to panic. Until then, be confident in yourself and your teachers.

Second, get a solid antiperspirant/deodorant. If you’ve prepared properly for the test, you should be more worried about the odor emanating from your arm pits than the assessment. Do you know what is worse than having to take a test? Having to take a test in the seat next to a person that smells like gym sock. For the love of humanity, take care of this problem. A bad grade on a test can be undone with hard work and diligence during a semester. Body odor, on the other hand…that stigma is for life, bro.


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