Coping with Test Anxiety
An increased level of anxiety when taking a test is normal in students and can sometimes even motivate students to prepare and do well on a test. However, some students experience a high level of anxiety when taking a test that can present itself in physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.
There can be several causes for test anxiety including fear of failure, lack of preparedness, and past history of struggling on tests. Luckily, there are simple strategies that you can use to help your child cope with their anxiety.
Try these strategies with your child:
Be prepared. Develop good study habits. Study at least a week or two before the exam, in smaller increments of time and over a few days (instead of pulling an “all-nighter”). Try to simulate exam conditions by working through a practice test, following the same time constraints.
Develop good test-taking skills. Read the directions carefully, answer questions you know first and then return to the more difficult ones. Outline essays before you begin to write.
Maintain a positive attitude. Remember that your self-worth should not be dependent on or defined by a test grade. Creating a system of rewards and reasonable expectations for studying can help to produce effective studying habits. There is no benefit to negative thinking.
Stay focused. Concentrate on the test, not other students during your exams. Try not to talk to other students about the subject material before taking an exam.
Practice relaxation techniques. If you feel stressed during the exam, take deep, slow breaths and consciously relax your muscles, one at a time. This can invigorate your body and will allow you to better focus on the exam.
Stay healthy. Get enough sleep, eat healthfully, exercise and allow for personal time. If you are exhausted—physically or emotionally—it will be more difficult for you to handle stress and anxiety.
Visit the counseling center. Schools are aware of the toll exams can take on students. They have offices or programs specifically dedicated to helping you and providing additional educational support so that you can be successful.
Shared from The Anxiety and Depression Association of America.