Exam anxiety is a topic that leads to low test scores of children in school. With some children, the fear of the exams is barely noticeable and manifests itself in a slight nervousness in the evening or in the morning before an upcoming exam at school, an important presentation, or the driving test. A slight nervousness is by no means a problem, on the contrary, if you are not nervous, you often put less effort into exams. However, some children suffer so badly from exam anxiety that they can no longer concentrate on the tasks assigned to them. The consequences are often bad grades and a steadily growing fear of the next exam that cannot seem to be combated. Often times, these children block themselves out of fear of failure. At this point, parents should take the initiative.
What are the symptoms of exam anxiety?
Symptoms in children who suffer from exam anxiety can appear at different levels leading to low test scores.
The physical level: Children’s test anxiety can manifest itself through symptoms such as racing heart, sweating, tremors, or dizziness. Headaches or sleep disorders also indicate fears.
The Thought Level: Children tend to have self-deprecating thoughts, think about nothing but the upcoming exam, and often picture disasters.
The emotional level: Most often children feel the fear of the upcoming test. Anger can also be seen in some people who have test anxiety and who realize that their thoughts are irrational.
The behavioral level: Children often learn excessively in order to prepare for the exam in the best possible way. Others try to get around the fear by not learning. During the exam, those affected are often very tense and nervous.
What can you do to overcome exam anxiety?
If the conditions described above continue and increase from exam to exam, your child may suffer from fear of failure and blockages. This limits performance and of course gnaws at self-confidence. What can you do about it? If your child has low test scores and is having trouble in school a child psychiatrist can help. This will improve the learning pattern and your child will face their fears and develop more self-confidence.
Fearful children in particular often postpone learning to an exam as far as possible. If there is hectic cramming at the last minute before the exam, this knowledge has usually not been consolidated. In the exam situation, everything is suddenly gone – blackout!
Help your child prepare for school assignments (or the oral questionnaire) early on. Get together with him well in advance of the appointment – ideally at least a week in advance. Get an overview of the workload to be learned. You then divide the learning material into clear and manageable “learning bits”: a part is learned every day. Allow time for repetitions so that what you have learned can consolidate.
If your child continues to have exam anxiety should you see a doctor and ask about exam anxiety medication. Bach flowers against exam anxiety or homeopathy, on the other hand, are more harmless than drugs.
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