< 1 min read
My oldest daughter has such a struggle with test anxiety, I worry that it will affect her health. She is an A/B student, works hard, studies well, and gives her best effort. But when it comes to tests, especially the standardized testing that is government regulated, she freezes. She says it feels like her mind just goes completely blank during a test, and she cannot “open the right file drawer” to find the answers she knows are in there.
I just don’t know how to help her in this area, other than offering words of encouragement. Any suggestions?
Marked as spam
I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's text anxiety. Poor test performance as a result of anxiety can be so disheartening, especially when you have studied and prepared adequately. One of my kids experiences regular test anxiety - but only in Math. This is so frustrating for them, especially as Math is one of their strongest subjects.
Some good suggestions have already been offered by other people, but here are a few more based on our own trial and error over the years:
1. If past examples of standardised tests are available, let your child practice with these so that they can become familiar with the format of the paper.
2.Before starting a test, take a few moments to close your eyes and do some breathing exercises. This helps to ground you in the moment and prevents you from panicking about your test. If you start feeling overwhelmed during the test, put your pen down for a moment and take a few more deep breaths.
3. At the start of a test, read through the whole paper and identify which questions you feel confident about. Starting with these equations can help relax you and build the confidence you need to tackle the more difficult or challenging questions.
4. Watch the time. Set yourself a certain amount of time to work on a question. If your mind goes blank or you just can't access an answer, move on to the next question. Spending too much time trying to remember an answer just leads to more anxiety.
5. If your child is a visual learner, using mind maps and bright colours when studying can help them to visualise their work.
6. If you have time when you're done, read back over your work. You may well identify some work that you couldn't remember at the time but that you can now answer.
7. Lastly, remember that your test results will often not be an accurate representation of your understanding of a subject. Examinations and assessments can be affected by so many things including anxiety, your mood, how well you slept, wether you studied enough, ho well the teacher explained the work etc. Remember that a poor test result does not define you or your worth.
Good luck for future tests! I hope these tips are helpful.
Anxiety to some extent is considered positive or desirable because it motivates us to work harder and put in more efforts. Once it becomes severe and starts interfering with our normal functioning, it can become debilitating.
Test anxiety can be really frustrating and challenging for the young learners. You can try few strategies to help your daughter manage her test anxiety.
• Try to identify what actually makes her anxious. It might be the test procedures like crossing out the bubbles or the pressure of completing the test items in a given time. Introducing children to the test formats beforehand and helping them in efficiently completing time bound tasks can help in reducing stress associated with tests.
• Sometimes overload of pending work can become overwhelming. Help her in scheduling her test preparations so she doesn’t have a pile of pending work one night before test. For many students scheduled preparation can be really helpful in reducing test anxiety.
• Children differ in their learning styles. Observe if you daughter is visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner. Help her in learning based on her preferred learning style, it might help her in preparing for test in a relaxed environment.
• Make her comfortable before the test. Give her the assurance that tests are not meant to define her talent, potential or personality. The only thing you require from her is to enjoy learning, work hard and try her best. It is her effort and satisfaction that matters more than her grades.
In the end I would like to say that you sure have a genius daughter. The way she has explained “the right file drawer” is simply outstanding. Cognitive psychologist also give example of a library when explaining the process of encoding, storing and retrieving information. Best wishes for your smart girl.
Wow. Your daughter sounds so insightful and is able to clearly articulate how she is feeling about testing situations. This is fabulous. Many children experience this same kind of stress - particularly when it comes to our standardized tests.
I think it can be helpful to unpack the purpose of the test. For example, these kinds of tests are actually meant to be more about the teaching rather than the individual performance of students. If you daughter can understand that these tests provide the teachers feedback about their teaching methods - it may help her feel less pressure. I am a firm believer in that if a student has not learned what is expected - then it is a reflection on the teacher and an opportunity for them to refine and improve their teaching practices in order to help the students be successful.
I also think it is a good opportunity to remind your daughter that there are lots of ways to be smart and that these tests are very narrow and don't tell the full story of who a child or student is. I hope this helps :)