As parents, we want our children to be happy and well prepared for whatever challenges life brings.
When it comes to exams, for example… we get them a tutor to help them learn the material. We download all the past papers so they can practice. We try to make it fun whilst doing all the worrying for them.
But despite all this preparation, test anxiety can make even the most confident of children crumble when exam day comes, leaving them disappointed and feeling like a failure.
Anxiety can creep up out of nowhere, and when it strikes, it stops us thinking straight and remembering what we’ve learnt, making us feel underprepared and unable to cope.
The good news is that, just as you can get tutoring to help your child cover the academic side of the exams, you can also teach them the skills they need to shake off any feelings of anxiety.
That way, they will be able to go into exams feeling confident, calm and ready to their very best, whatever happens.
And you will be able to have peace of mind, knowing that you’ve not only helped them to avoid falling at the final hurdle because of test anxiety, but you’ve also given them an average 12% grade advantage* over their classmates.
How Big a Problem Is Test Anxiety?
With increasing competition for good school places and focus on critical testing and school accountability measures, children have never been under so much pressure to perform.
So much so, that the NSPCC ChildLine service reported that, for the first time ever, school and education problems topped other concerns in 2013/14.
Test anxiety has been shown to lower exam performance, which creates a vicious cycle of spiralling anxiety. At extreme levels, and especially in the “difficult” teenage years, test anxiety can be a factor in self-harm or suicide.
Is my child at risk from test anxiety?
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you were counting down to a “big day” – such as a wedding, presentation, or driving test – you’ll know that the closer you get to the day, the stronger the feelings get.
Children are also remarkably good at hiding signs of stress and anxiety until it has reaches critical levels, because they want to avoid being a disappointment or letting their parents or family down.
So even if your child seems pretty relaxed and confident now, it’s important to pay as much attention to their emotional wellbeing as their academic achievement.
Not only will you better prepare them to do their best, you’ll also give them skills that will set them up for life.