Test anxiety can affect us at any age, but children in elementary school are especially likely to be anxious about test taking. Whether it’s a standardized test or one made by a teacher, there are a few things you can do to help your child or students avoid anxiety when facing a big test.
1. Allow adequate study time.
Making sure that your students or children have plenty of time to prepare for a test is crucial. Studying over a period of several days will allow him or her to really learn the material. Go over a small amount each day and review the material you worked on in the days before. As material continues to come back to them each day, their confidence will grow and they’ll feel ready on test day.
2. Make sure they get enough sleep.
Getting a good night’s rest the night before and eating a good breakfast make a world of difference in cognitive function on test day. Feeling physically comfortable and well-rested make it much easier for children to relax and focus on the task at hand.
3. Teach them to read the directions.
Let your students or child know that reading the instructions is one of the most important things to do on test day. Make sure that they understand what is being asked of them and encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand.
4. Reassure them.
Reassure your child or students that they are capable of succeeding. Remind them of all the studying they’ve already done and help them to put the test into perspective: this is just one test and it’s success over time that matters. Finally, encourage them to take deep breaths and count to 3 before the test, whenever they feel anxious or encounter a question they don’t know, or even just between sections.
These four simple steps can go a long way towards easing your child’s anxiety on test day. Just don’t forget to remind them: all that matters is that they do their best!