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March 4, 2019

2 min

Amy Pinter

Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety, is it real or is it just a part of being a student?

"I hate tests", "I don’t do well on them", "I can’t remember anything I’ve learned". "I always fail tests." "Tests are stupid."

These are all familiar words that we’ve heard from our kids and maybe even from our own mouths as we moved through school ourselves.

According to the  American Test Anxieties Association, high test anxiety impacts anywhere from 16%-20% of students and another 18% suffer from low test anxiety. It is easy to dismiss test anxiety as simply a condition of being a student. In reality, test anxiety is a form of performance anxiety.

We all have experienced some type of anxiety that often involves performance. I know for myself that comes in the form of speaking. Ironically, I can stand in front of a classroom of students and talk my head off. Put me in front of a group of people, large or small, and I lose the ability to think clearly and articulate the most basic of words.

Symptoms of anxiety

There are several categories that students fall into in regards to test anxiety and as parents we can relate because we have all felt the symptoms of anxiety before a presentation, job interview, performance review, starting a new job, and even doing something new.

You experience:

  • Your heart races
  • Sweat
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea or butterflies in your stomach

The same applies to your child. The more they think about the negative impact of their performance, the greater the symptoms. My youngest child hates testing. His test anxiety was so great that he would stop working on the test because he feared failure. He focused on all that could happen and accepted defeat before the actual test.

Test anxiety is more than just a passing emotion. Ignoring it can actually exacerbate the situation. Instead, acknowledging your child’s anxiety and helping them identify coping skills to help them alleviate anxiety. We cannot eliminate it but we can help them feel more confident and less worried. After all, according to David Putwain from Edge Hill University, research suggests that high test anxiety can result in lower grades.

Helping your child find the right coping tools can help them turn the anxiety into a positive learning experience. Check out 5 Tips for Test Anxiety.

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