How to Overcome Test Anxiety (According To Students)
Though most students feel nervous when writing a test, test anxiety is a deeper struggle that many students deal with. Remarkably, 16-20% of students have high levels of test anxiety while 18% of students deal with moderate anxiety.
Test anxiety can leave many students to feel discouraged and frustrated with school. Though it takes patience and hard work, test anxiety can be managed with the right coping skills and techniques.
Know The Signs and Causes Of Exam Anxiety
Is your child struggling with test anxiety?
Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and which students it can affect most.
So how can you help if your child is struggling? Read on to find out some of the best ways to manage (and overcome) test anxiety according to students—and how you can help!
8 Student-Approved Test Anxiety Coping Strategies
While Your Child Is Studying
1. Create a Study Schedule
Your child may feel anxious that the mountain of material he or she has to study can never be conquered. This feeling is understandable but can be easily fixed! Overcome exam anxiety by being properly prepared for the test from the start.
Work with your child to divide notes into manageable sections and work out a study schedule so he or she can work away at the material bit by bit. This way, your child will feel more confident in the material while preparing for tests.
2. Take Frequent Study Breaks
Studying for hours on end not only makes it harder to retain the material—it also makes your child fixate on the material, leading to feelings of anxiety.
Breaks are important as they give your child some space from the material and keep the test in perspective. Make sure your child is taking breaks by getting fresh air, meditating, or listening to music every 20-30 minutes while studying.
3. Practice With Mock Tests
A major reason tests create anxiety is because students fear the unknown. Your child doesn’t know what questions are going to be on the test—this can be frightening and overwhelming.
Help relieve this anxiety by creating mock tests in the weeks and days leading up to the test. Be sure to remove any study aids or distractions to create an environment that mimics a real testing room. As your child completes the mock tests he or she will start to feel more comfortable with the material and gain confidence in his or her test writing abilities.
The Day Of The Test
4. Eat Something Nutritious
Brain-boosting foods that are high in protein will give your child energy and keep his or her mind sharp during the test. A good breakfast will also ensure your child doesn’t feel disoriented or lightheaded. Make sure your child isn’t snacking on foods too high in sugar—this will help ensure he or she doesn’t crash midway through the test or start to feel jittery.
5. Arrive Early
It is easy to feel panicked and flustered when running late; arrive early to write an exam to avoid adding on to existing anxiety.
If you’re driving your child to the exam, be sure to leave extra early so you’re not running late. If your child getting him or herself to the test, remind him or her to plan ahead and arrive early as some exams rooms lock once the exam starts.
6. Keep The Test In Perspective
Many students ‘catastrophize’ exams—they build up the significance of their mark on the exam and worry excessively. It’s important to take grades seriously, but worrying too much can actually hinder your child’s ability to perform. Your child won’t be able to focus on the material because he or she is so fixated on not getting anything wrong.
Understanding that a test won’t make or break a final grade can be an effective way to manage exam anxiety. Sit down with your child and remind him or her that it’s unrealistic to be perfect on every test or assignment—what’s important is that he or she is putting his or her best effort into it.
7. Skip A Question if Needed
While taking the test, encourage your child to circle any unknown questions, move on to the next question, and revisit them later. Getting fixated on a difficult question will not only make your son or daughter feel anxious—it can also eat away valuable test time.
Plus, answering the questions your child knows first will help him or her build confidence while taking the test.
8. Talk Together After The Test
Once your child completes the test, discuss how proud you are that he or she got through it. For many students, after going through a stressful experience, all they want it to go home and be with family. Having open arms to return to will make writing the test less stressful because your child has something to look forward to.
Is your child struggling with test anxiety? We’re here to help! Our study skills tutors can help your child excel by developing strong test-taking skills and building his or her confidence.