Regardless of age, enthusiasm for school, or intelligence level, test anxiety is a common issue.
If your child is dealing with this problem (symptoms include excessive sweating, stomachaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating, among other things) there are a number of ways you can provide support.
Here are some of the most effective strategies:
Help them adequately prepare
For many students, anxiety levels lower when the child feels as if they’ve properly prepped for the exam. Your son or daughter may be invested in their schoolwork, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to study properly. Take the time to teach them good techniques as they get ready for a test. This could include using flash cards or creating a study schedule so they’re not cramming the night before.
Understand how to interpret the questions
Some kids struggle to understand what exactly a question is asking them and get overwhelmed as a result. To help children feel better equipped to take an exam, help them learn how to interpret multiple choice questions.
Go over relaxation techniques
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or journaling can help to ease an anxious mind before a big test.
Another important tip for parents: take the importance out of each individual test. For many students, anxiety occurs because they believe that poor marks on a test have major implications for their future. While, of course, it’s ideal to do as well as possible on each exam, parents can help to lessen test anxiety by explaining that one poor score isn’t the end of the world.
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, American Way magazine, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thrillist, Thought Catalog, and others.