How to Help Your Child Let Go of Test Anxiety

student completing test sheet and answer sheet

We all get a little nervous the night before a big test. However, some kids struggle with such severe anxiety that they can barely get out of bed the morning of their test. Test anxiety is something many kids struggle with, and it often spirals out of control. But there is hope. You can help your child regain control and move past their test anxiety. Here are a few tips to get started:

Prepare well

Test anxiety often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kids become fearful of failing an exam, but the fear and anxiety become so overwhelming that they avoid studying and preparing for the test. The result? Exactly what they feared. They do poorly and then their anxiety for the next test doubles.

While the easiest thing in the moment is to procrastinate studying, preparing for an exam is the best way to overcome test anxiety. By preparing, your child will do better, and thus their fear of tests will dwindle. However, if just preparing for a test makes your child anxious, they may need some extra help. Consider helping them yourself or hiring a tutor to work through the study process with them.

Practice positive self-talk

How we talk to ourselves largely impacts how we view our own abilities. Negative thinking can easily send us into a downward trend of anxiety. When our children assume they’ll do badly on the test, they’ll grow more anxious as a result. While we don’t have to be positive 24/7 (in fact, it’s unhealthy to do so), practicing positive self-talk can help our children retrain their minds to become more confident and self-empowered.

Use relaxation techniques

When anxiety occurs, we have trouble thinking clearly. This is because anxiety weakens the connection between the amygdala, which senses a threat, and the prefrontal cortex, which comes up with a logical response. In other words, anxiety turns off our prefrontal cortex, causing our minds to spin out of control. Relaxation techniques can help turn the prefrontal cortex back on and make us think more rationally. There are several techniques that you and your child could try, but this website provides a few ideas to get you started.

Test anxiety can be difficult to deal with, but your child doesn’t have to do it alone. Dr. Marie Mazza’s tutoring services can help your child prepare and find success so that they can overcome their test anxiety. Contact her today to get started!