Monday, September 19, 2011

5 Stategys To Cope With Test Anxiety

We've all been there to one degree or another.... you study all night long for a test in school, you get there the next day knowing your stuff, as test time approaches the anxiety starts to mount: finally the time comes, the test is placed in front of you and poof - all gone.

This was a common occurrence in our house as Jeff was growing up. He always did great on the homework, studied hard for the tests, and got them back with disappointing grades: he always felt he could have done better. Some kids even have this to a worse degree, going so far as feeling faint or like they are going to throw up before a test. Test anxiety is a form of performance anxiety, and there are things you can do to help your child focus before a big test.

Be Prepared. Have your child keep a planner. In it they should keep track of the due dates to all their major tests and projects, then they should come up with a game plan. Cramming the night before for a test won't really help you retain a lot of information, it hasn't had time to really sink into the skull. Most major tests you will know they are coming up days before hand and that's when they should start studying. Studying a little each night will help retention much more than a cram session the night before.

Positive Affirmation. It's amazing how powerful the brain is. If your child is saying things like "I'm just not a good test taker", "If I do badly on this test my grade in the class will suffer" or "No matter how much I study I can never get a good grade" then things need to change. If you believe you are going to fail you more than likely will. Try to help them switch their mind set into positive thinking. "I've studied and have done my best to prepare for this test, so I am ready" is a better way to think.

No One Is Perfect. I always had a question in my house when my kids came home disappointed in their performance on something, whether it was a test, game or class assignment: did you do your best? If they were completely honest with themselves, and they could say they did their ultimate best that was possible for them my answer was always "well, you can't do better than your  best, and that's good enough for me". I always told them I would way rather have a hard earned B or C than an easy A. Help your child to see that we can't all be perfect in every skill and subject that we attempt. As long as they are doing their best, then that's good enough.

Relaxation Techniques. Sometimes having some forms of meditation or relaxation techniques can help greatly to calm the nerves before a test. Learning how to do some visualization or breathing with your child can help them to relax, put things into perspective and focus on the task at hand.

Be Healthy. It's a proven fact that kids who don't eat well or get enough sleep don't perform well. If your body doesn't have the tools it needs to function, it obviously won't function well. There have been many times in my children's school career where I have had to tell them that enough is enough. After hours of study, and the clock creeping towards ungodly hours, it is enough: sleep becomes more important than study at some point. Make sure that your child has a well balanced diet and is getting enough sleep: that alone will make a huge difference in their ability to do well.

picture taken by peruisay

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