Lauren Talbot and Test Anxiety

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SUMMARY: "Your grade on this test will determine who you are and all you will ever be."

Many of us have felt this sentence, even if we’ve never actually heard it said. The pressure to succeed in academics affects students of all ages and in all disciplines, and we often experience it most viscerally when taking tests.

In “Test Anxiety: Prevalence, Effects, and Interventions for Elementary School Students,” Lauren Talbot examines test anxiety, the immediate physiological and psychological stress it creates, and its long-term consequences. After surveying recent research, she builds on her senior capstone field placement in a Harrisonburg-area school to focus in on how younger students experience these concerns. Talbot’s theoretical and practical expertise enables her to outline a teacher-led lunchtime program designed to equip elementary school students with strategies for recognizing and overcoming their test anxiety.

Feeling Tested?

"Stop, Drop, and Roll"

Stop: Put your pencil down and place your hands on the table, focusing on the cool surface.

Drop: Tilt your head forward.

Roll: Roll your head around while gently taking three deep breaths.

Check out Talbot's article for more help in addressing test anxiety. On page 46, she describes a Deep Breathing Meditation exercise that researchers have used in studies to measure stress reduction. The seven-minute-long exercise is available as Appendix A at the end of Talbot's article.

In addition to helping her readers to appreciate why “I’m not a good test taker” can start early and is often much, much more than an easy excuse, Talbot wants to encourage fellow researchers: “It is my hope that this research will be both helpful and interesting to current and past students—especially psychology majors going through their field placement.” Having her work published in JMURJ has opened up that wider audience. As Talbot says, “I am so glad that I decided to submit my research for publication, and I have been and will continue to recommend others to do the same. Any time I had a question, [JMURJ was] always quick to respond and provide thorough guidance. My [JMU faculty] reviewers gave excellent feedback, which helped me to evaluate and expand upon many areas of my research.”

Read Lauren Talbot’s “Test Anxiety: Prevalence, Effects, and Interventions for Elementary School Students” in Volume 3 of JMURJ.


Lauren Talbot (’14), from Leesburg, Virginia, graduated with a B.S. in Psychology. While at JMU, she served as a Psychology Peer Advisor and a member of Psi Chi. She completed her capstone as a Field Placement student at a local elementary school, where she became interested in the topic of test anxiety, and received the Joann H. Grayson Outstanding Field Placement Award for her work. Since graduating from JMU, Lauren has been working in the recruiting field in Washington D.C. She plans to attend graduate school in the future with the hopes of becoming a school counselor.

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Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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