Mindprint Toolbox

Search Results

Please wait...

Understand Your Child's Test Anxiety


Social-Emotional Learning Study Skills & Tools ^Extra-curricular/At-Home All Ages Strategy



Understand Your Child's Test Anxiety

If your child struggles with test anxiety but doesn't have more generalized anxiety

How To Apply It!

  1. Understanding the specific reasons for a student who is overly anxious is critical to providing the right types of supports.
  2. While a little anxiety can be good, too much anxiety impedes the brain from functioning. A child who has too much anxiety really often cannot show his best work which causes a fear of under-performance and more anxiety.
  3. Most test anxiety results from a mismatch between performance and expectations. The key is to address the reason for the mismatch.
  4. Subject-Specific Anxiety: It can start with a tough experience with a teacher or even a single bad grade. Develop your child's confidence in the subject, and the anxiety should lessen. Solutions might be to study more in that subject (not let the child avoid it) or ask the teacher to offer additional support. If the anxiety is years in the making, it might require re-learning specific skills, since many subjects are cumulative.
  5. Automaticity: Students need to know some basic subject matter without thinking it through. If a student is spending time thinking about the information he is likely to under-perform when faced with stress or time constraints. Learn more about automaticity in general, and specific to math facts. The solution: as much extra practice as it takes to commit that important information to long-term memory.
  6. Inefficient Pacing: Students need to respond at different rates depending on the context (e.g. faster for a pop quiz and more slowly for an essay). Some students do not naturally adjust their pace to the situation. Teach them how to approach different question formats.
  7. Memory: Students with weaker memory might have difficulty remembering even if they understand well. The pressure of a test makes remembering harder. Try these memorization strategies to ensure your student effectively commits information to memory.
  8. Metacognition: Students need self-awareness to know when they mastered the material and when to keep studying. If you have a student who just doesn't study enough or studies too much, learn how to develop metacognition.
  9. Attention: When children can't stay focused during a test, they can lose crucial time or make careless mistakes. Consider requesting classroom supports if your child struggles with attention.
  10. Generalized Anxiety: Some students have general anxiety disorders that worsen in stressful situations. You might want to consult a therapist who might suggest using a stress ball, meditation, or muscle relaxation.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Many capable students struggle with test anxiety. Science tells us that a little anxiety can boost performance, but too much anxiety can inhibit it. While stress might be unavoidable in today's highly competitive schools, you can absolutely lessen every child's angst by providing them with the individual coping strategies they need to increase their likelihood of success.