Your child knows the material at home, but fails the test over and over. What to do about test anxiety?
Not all anxiety is harmful. Researchers divide anxiety into good anxiety (drive to succeed) and bad anxiety (paralyzing panic). Here are some tips to help your child:Think of anxiety as a bad habit, and find test-taking strategies that work for your child.
Everybody is different, so don’t expect big sister’s strategies to work. Over-learn the material, but don’t cram right before the exam. Get a good night’s sleep, some exercise,and take a snack if possible. Some say fruits and veggies reduce stress.
BEST strategies for the student:
- During the test read directions carefully.
- Read, choose an answer, then reread the question.
- Read multiple choice answers first, then read the problem.
- Watch your time carefully: if drawing a blank, skip to the next item.
- When others finish first, don’t panic; keep a steady pace.
- When tensing up, relax, take deep breaths, and focus on the next step rather than the panic.
BEST strategies for the parent:
- After the test ask your child which strategies were helpful, or not helpful. Make a list.
- Celebrate small successes with your child.
- Ask the teacher what can be done in the classroom to lower anxiety.
Everyone experiences some anxiety. If your child’s anxiety is interfering with performance, talk with the teacher or guidance counselor about making a separate testing time available or even a longer testing period. Partnering with the school, you may be able to resolve the problem of test anxiety.