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Coping with Test Anxiety - Manage Your Child's Fears in Taking Tests

Updated on May 11, 2013

Test anxiety prevents what people want so badly—success. It is a widespread issue among children and young people that warrants serious attention. Coping with test anxiety requires the help of parents. However, dealing with anxiety is challenging, especially if parents are reluctant to recognize its early manifestations like fear of getting poor grades. So, neglected cases of test anxiety are a common scenario. Does your child need your help to succeed in school? This article presents the causes of test anxiety and strategies for managing test anxiety. After reading this article, you should be able to assess your child’s academic performance and design a personalized approach to reduce and overcome test anxiety.

Test anxiety is often a vicious cycle of psychological and physiological distress. Because fear blocks and leads to failure, failure results to even more fear, which attracts more and more fear-failure cycles. It is often expressed as an avoidance behavior by being ill, excuses, and even dropping out of school. Many school-age children suffer from this problem.

Causes of Test Anxiety

What are the causes of test anxiety? Many parents ask themselves. When their child is getting “dizzy with numbers,” they sparingly contemplate beyond the test itself. The truth, however, is that it is not the test itself that makes the child afraid, but the awareness that leads to an evaluation. Some children equate the value of own self to academic performance. If the grades do not turn out as hoped, depression sets in. Others are afraid of the reactions of parents and the punishment that awaits them like a ban from watching TV or playing video games for a week. Determining the specific cause is detrimental for coping with test anxiety.

Strategies to Manage Test Anxiety

Define the character of test anxiety

It is highly recommended to conduct research with the child together. Which situations trigger special fear? Is it afraid of a special teacher? Is it connected to the nerves with certain subjects? Are there information gaps? Is there an apparent fear of the reaction of parents when it presents a bad report card? Is it connected to the great nervousness only with oral or written tests? If so, why does this happen? Does it have enough time to prepare for tests?

Identify any pressure

Pressure is a one-way street that may cause negative feelings, such as helplessness and fear. Give special emphasis to the child’s behavior toward school to make sure that he/she is not afraid of it. Assist in school endeavor by giving instructions, specifications, and rules in learning. Parents who pay attention to rules tell the child that parents are interested in what they are doing in school. However, explain that the value of a child is not measured in his school success.

Get to know your child and his environment

Children are generally active. You need delineate learning-free zones, in which they play undisturbed. Parents should know that coping with test anxiety is also learned through the practical games of life. The world is connected in the game. The child can playfully slip into roles—good and bad, smart and stupid, can win and lose.

Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses

Strengths and weaknesses are an effective instrument against fear. What does it mean to a child when all he does is explore his own creativity? Well, if parents recognize strengths and pay tribute to it, then coping with test anxiety is made easier. By recognizing strengths and knowing limits, the child is able to develop confidence and self-esteem.

Speak with the teacher

Apart from parents, teachers play a role in developing the child’s coping skills. Just so he can tell the actual performance, the knowledge, and the abilities of the student, it is desirable to keep an open line of communication between parents and teacher. In addition he can contribute much to reduce pressure and thus, coping with test anxiety.

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