4 Tips to Ease Test Anxiety

4 Tips to Ease Test Anxiety

08 September, 2020

Test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety. It can affect us at any age, but children in elementary school are especially likely to be anxious about test-taking. Many students experience negative thoughts and fear of failure associated with test-taking. This can cause difficulty concentrating and sometimes even unpleasant physical symptoms or panic attacks. Helping children manage test anxiety is important for ensuring good mental health for our children. Whether it's a standardized test or one made by a teacher, there are a few things you can do to help your child or students avoid test anxiety when facing a big test.

1. Allow adequate study time.

Making sure that your students or children have plenty of time to prepare for a test is crucial. Lack of preparation is likely to result in low self-esteem that can lead to poor test performance. Studying over a period of several days, rather than cramming at the last minute, will promote good study habits and allow him or her to really learn the material. Go over a small amount each day and review the material you worked on in the days before. As material continues to come back to them each day, their confidence will grow and they'll feel ready on the day of the test.  Adequate study time is one most useful study skills and one of the best predictors of great test scores. Some students even create practice tests to better prepare for the day of the test. It's important to remember that different test prep and test-taking strategies work for different students.  Keep trying different techniques to find what works best for your child.

2. Make sure they get enough sleep.

Getting enough sleep the night before and eating a good breakfast make a world of difference in cognitive function on test day. Feeling physically comfortable and well-rested makes it much easier for children to relax and focus on the task at hand. A good night's sleep correlates positively to stellar academic performance.

3. Teach them to read the directions.

Let your students or child know that reading the instructions is one of the most important things to do on the day of the test. Lack of clarity is one of the most common causes of test anxiety.  Student who are confused about what is being asked of them are likely to experience racing thoughts or other symptoms of test anxiety which inevitably leads to difficulty concentrating. Make sure that they understand what is being asked of them and encourage them to ask questions if they don't understand.

4. Reassure them.

Reassure your child or students that they are capable of succeeding. Remind them of all the test prep and studying they've already done and help them to put the test into perspective: this is just one test and it does not determine their self-worth. Afterall, it's success over time that matters. Finally, encourage them to use deep breathing and other relaxation techniques whenever they feel anxious or encounter a question they don't know, or even just between sections.

These four simple steps can go a long way towards easing your child's anxiety on test day. Just don't forget to remind them: all that matters is that they do their best!

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