Many students tend to become anxious or nervous nearing exam periods. While feeling this way is normal, it can sometimes backfire on their efforts. During an exam, students may blank out when reading the questions that they know the answers to or, waste precious time rereading a text multiple times in order to understand the question.
It is true that taking exams can be stressful, especially since you are being asked to recall, analyse and answer questions, all within a specific time limit. However, it is also true that there are practical ways that we can help our children with to manage themselves in these stressful situations. But what if we told you that with the right tips, students could perform better in their examinations whilst overcoming test anxiety as well.
What Is Test Anxiety?
Test anxiety falls under the umbrella of performance anxiety – a feeling that one might have in a situation when the pressure is on for them to do well or if the performance matters greatly. For instance, your child might have performance anxiety just before their CCA performance or a class presentation.
And, just like other situations in which a person may feel performance anxiety, test anxiety can also bring on the feeling of “butterflies” or a stomachache. If your child has test anxiety, you may notice them eating lesser the night before a test or be unable to fall asleep.
Who Are Most Likely To Suffer From Test Anxiety
Children who worry a lot or are perfectionists tend to have more trouble with test anxiety. This could be attributed to them finding it hard to accept mistakes that they might make or to score something less than perfect. In this way, they unintentionally pressure themselves. On the other hand, students who are unprepared for their tests but also care about their scores may also suffer from test anxiety.
Exam Tips To Help Reduce Test Anxiety
Test anxiety can turn out to be a real problem if you feel very nervous about your examinations, especially national ones like the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). Here are some exam tips that can help you keep your test anxiety at a manageable level:
Before The Exam
Put things in perspective. Always remind your child that even though an upcoming exam is important, their entire future does not depend on just this paper. As parents, you can also motivate them by reminding your child of their past successes.
Having good study habits and skills is essential, so no amount of cramming or studying the night before the test can substitute for a deeper level of learning. Many students find their test anxieties ease when they adopt good study habits or revise more regularly. It also makes sense because the more you know the material, the more confidence you will have. This confidence translates into better performance, allowing you to relax during the test.
Most importantly, you should always ensure that your child has a good night’s sleep for several days before the examinations. With adequate sleep comes a better ability to think clearly and deal with your anxiety better. Being anxious can also increase the impact of caffeine, as such, students should try to reduce their intake on the days leading up to exams. (is this necessary? )
On The Day Of The Exam
Now that the big day is here, it is best to get to the examination hall or school early and try to avoid talking to other students as it might trigger your anxiety. Instead, you can keep to yourself, meditate or even take deep breaths.
Understand that you do not always have to know the answers to every question. If you encounter a question that you do not know the answer to, move on to the next question first before going back. You can also make an intelligent guess.
After Your Exam
Talking about your exam afterwards is entirely unhelpful as there can be many different approaches to the same question. Hence, once you have handed your paper in, just let it go. Once the exam is over, give yourself time to do what you enjoy.
Take Care Of Yourselves
Everything takes time and practice. Learning to overcome test anxiety is no different either. Although it will not be able to go away overnight, facing and dealing with test anxiety can help you learn stress management – all of which can prove to be a valuable skill in many situations.
Find out more about our unique pedagogy that can help reduce your test anxieties by booking a visit to any of our centres.