Does your son or daughter complete their homework assignments with ease,
but freeze when the teacher announces a pop quiz? Does your son become
irritable and have trouble sleeping during exam season?
The culprit could be test anxiety.
It’s natural to feel a little nervous about taking a test, but intense
jitters can interfere with your child’s academic performance and undermine
their love of learning.
Study these tips that you can share with your child to help them stay calm
and do better in school.
Steps to Take Before and After Exam Season
1. Design your own tests. Self-testing is one of the most effective methods
of studying, and your child will gain confidence each time they practice.
Ask your child to make up a few questions about the material they just
covered in their homework.
2. Avoid cramming. Talk with your child about the importance of studying
regularly rather than waiting until the last minute. They’ll retain more
information and feel less stressed.
3. Accept your feelings. Fighting or denying anxiety can make it worse.
Be a role model by showing how you can acknowledge your feelings while
taking constructive action.
4. Practice relaxation. Make reducing stress a family activity.
Meditate together or take long walks. Start the morning with some breathing
exercises and play gentle instrumental music in the evenings.
5. Monitor self talk. You can’t always be there to give your child a pep
talk so ensure they know how to motivate and encourage themselves. Let them
know that they deserve praise for making an effort. Focus on making progress
rather than getting any particular grade.
6. Ask for assistance. Schools offer many resources for learning disabilities
and other conditions that can contribute to test anxiety. Talk with a teacher
or school counselor to see what’s available.
7. Evaluate your efforts. Prepare for the next exam season by figuring out
where you need to focus your attention. Maybe your child is still struggling
with essay questions or analogies.
Steps to Take During Exam Season
1. Clarify the format. Knowing what to expect can boost your confidence.
See if the teacher is willing to announce what kind of questions will be on
the test, and what material will be covered. Look at samples from previous
years and remind your child to pay extra attention to any sections and themes
that the teacher seems to emphasize.
2. Minimize distractions. A tranquil atmosphere relieves anxiety. Suggest
picking out a quiet seat away from the door.
3. Follow directions. Students sometimes fail tests because they didn’t take
the time to read the instructions carefully. Train your child to study the
directions before they answer any questions.
4. Keep moving. Blanking out and freezing are common symptoms of test anxiety.
Staying engaged makes it easier to think. Answer easy questions first and save
harder ones for later. Outline drafts for essays if it’s difficult to write
them out automatically.
5. Eat nutritious foods. Students need to care for their bodies as well as
their minds. Avoid fueling up on sugary junk food that makes blood sugar levels
soar and crash. Eat balanced meals and nutritious snacks.
6. Exercise regularly. Similarly, daily workouts will reduce stress and boost
energy. Start the day with a short run or laps in the pool.
7. Sleep well. Test anxiety can keep a student up at night, but sleep is
essential. Create bedtime rituals like taking a warm bath or drinking a cup of
Being tested is a part of life, whether it’s algebra exams or job interviews.
Teaching your child to perform under pressure will prepare them for greater
success and peace of mind.
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