Yes! There are many test anxiety strategies on how to deal with test anxiety. First, I'm going to review the causes, the symptoms, and who gets it before I discuss what test anxiety strategies to use for managing test anxiety.
What is Test Anxiety?
Test anxiety is a feeling someone gets before or during test taking. It is a type of performance anxiety, that occurs when someone is typically concerned about getting a good outcome. The result is physical and psychological symptoms that occur before or during tests. Test anxiety can negatively affect learning and performance. The good news is there are test anxiety strategies on how to deal with it.
What Causes Test Anxiety?
It is caused by fear of failure, poor test preparation and/or problematic test taking history. There is pressure to perform at your best level. This can motivate the test taker. However, it may also create fear of failure. Good test preparation is important for a good test result. It is also important to prevent test anxiety. A calm test taker tends to know they've studied to the best of their ability. They also tend to have studied over time, and not in just a few days or at the last-minute. If the test taker has had a history of negative experiences with test or poor grades on test, this can also cause anxiety on future tests.
What Are Symptoms of Test Anxiety?
Symptoms are physical, emotional, and/or behavioral. They range from mild or very intense.
The physical symptoms may include: headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fast heart rate, fast breathing rate, feeling like you can't breathe. If the anxiety is severe enough, a panic attack may occur. When someone is having a panic attack, it is generally very debilitating. A panic attack can make a person feel paralyzed internally or externally, like they can't move, can't talk, & they may feel like they're having a heart attack.
The emotional symptoms may include crying, feeling fear, feeling sadness, and helpless.
The behavioral symptoms may include negative self talk, inability to think clearly, and inability to function.
Who Gets Test Taking Anxiety?
Worriers - If your child has a tendency to worry, he/she is more likely to suffer from test anxiety. Even if your child is prepared, your child's worrying could cause test taking anxiety.
Perfectionists - If your child aims for self perfection, then he/she is more likely to suffer from test anxiety. Even if your child does wll in school, the very thought of getting questions wrong, or getting less than an A, leads the perfectionist to have test taking anxiety.
Unprepared People - If your child has not learned the subject matter, not practiced with classwork/homework, and/or studied the material, then he/she is more likely to suffer from test anxiety.
Ask your child what's making your child feel nervous.
Talking about their feelings make children have less anxiety. Stay calm too as this helps your child stay calm as well
This can be a part of you child's life lessons. Teaching your child to handle things when the outcome is not what they expected will help them in life, not just in test taking.
Boost your child's confidence.
Tell them how wonderful they are. Ask them to give themselves compliments. What do they like about themselves? About their great brains?
Always offer support.
Remind your child that you are always there. Sometimes, they don't want a solution. Sometimes being a listener is all he/she needs.
Review Studying Habits & Test Prep
Have your child practice on sample tests.
Having experience with what the test will feel like will prevent anxiety.
Focus on test preparation.
Establish a routine for studying and preparing for the upcoming test is very helpful. Studying a little bit at a time, over a set time period. It is usually better than craming it in the day before the test. It also also for better retention of the facts.
Learn your child's best study habits.
When does he/she study best? Is it morning, afternoon, or night?
Does he/she need breaks?
Could hunger be slowing his/her learning/studying? Consider snack breaks in between studying.
Does he/she need to do something physical or move around in between studying.
Review test taking strategies.
Teach your child what to do if they are stuck on a test question. If they can't answer one, then teach them to mark the question and move on. They can get back to it later.
Help your child feel their best the day of an exam
Review all methods and test after the test is complete.
What were your child's strengths on the test? Where are their weaknesses? How could he/she have improved test prep? What did he/she do that was just right? What can he/she do again the next time? Or do differently? Ask them to evaluate this with you.
Sleep & Screen Time
Find your child's best number of sleep hours.
Does your child need eight (8) hours a night? Ten (10)? Twelve (12)? Try to make sure they get their best sleep before tests.
Monitor your child's screen time.
If your child has too much screen time, especially at night, or the days or week before an important test can do more harm than good.
Relaxation, Guided Meditation & Affirmations
Practice relaxation techniques.
Taking a bath
Listening to relaxing music
Create art. Drawing and/or coloring is fun and relaxing.
Play a board game that's fun with the family the day before the exam.
Watch a funny movie with your child. Sometimes, laughter is the best medicine.
Use Guided Meditation.
I recommend and use, I Am Peace, by Susan Verde. This is a wonderful book. It is geared for children. I think it's a great book for any age. The last page has a Guided Meditation. I've read this out loud to my son while he is lying down with his eyes closed. I must say that both he and I are relaxed at the end, every time.
Of those children who committed suicide, 5 – 11 year olds were more likely to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as revealed in a recent study in Pediatrics revealed that. Teenagers 12 – 14 year olds, were more likely to suffer from depression or dysthymia, and one third (1/3) of children had a mental illness. In order to determine the cause of suicide of children 5 to 14 years old, the study reviewed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System from 2003 to 2012.
Of those children who committed suicide,young school aged children were more likely to have family or friend relationship problems. In contrast, teenagers were more likely to have boyfriends or girlfriend relationship problems. The study also revealed that there was a higher rate of suicides among black youth than young of other races. In addition, 29% of young children and teenagers told someone about their intention to commit suicide before they attempted to do so.
Suicide Warning Signs
Warning signs include, but are not limited to increased seclusion and alone time, increased time spent in their room alone, decreased time spent with friends, decreased time spent in school activities, poor grades or a drop in grades, poor communication, discussion of a desire to commit suicide, increased temper, increased frustration.
National Suicide Prevention Line
An excellent resource is The National Suicide Prevention Line. There are many tools available on their website, suicidepreventionlifeline.org. In addition, their Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Online Chat is also available. If Chat is unavailable, then please call the Lifeline, as help is available 24/7. It is anonymous and confidential.
Positivity during depression can be helpful, so that the child at risk does not feel so helpless and alone. For older children, they can call the hotline. They can text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Also, consider having a professional and/or you do affirmation work with your child. Daily affirmations can be one of many tools that help. Lastly, a professional psychologist and/or psychiatrist may be beneficial as well.
It is important to (1) know the warning signs for suicide among young children and teens, (2) be aware that ADD, ADHD and depression place these children at a higher suicide risk, and (3) know where to call for help.