Exam anxiety can be described as a nervous feeling that is excessive in nature and is likely to interfere with a student’s ability to perform. Its symptoms can be broken down into three broad categories – physical (headache, nausea, sweating, shallow breathing), behavioural (pacing, fidgeting) and cognitive (going blank, negative self talk).
While the educational system continues to rely on the obsolete narrow method of testing in order to judge a student’s accountability, parents can intervene in the following ways to reduce test anxiety:
- Create A Positive Communication With The Student
Parents should offer a reassuring talk to the child every now and then. They should encourage positive self-talk and teach them relaxation techniques.
- Encourage Open Communication
Parents should be open to what the student’s teachers and the students themselves have to say
about a exam-related situation.
- Bring Down The Stakes
Too often parents themselves increase the already high stakes put on test scores by adding consequences or judging a child’s merit based on his/her scores. Instead, it is important for parents to understand and convey this to the child that a test score is only a reflection of how he/she fares in a particular subject and that’s all. Those two digits do not get to define the child in his/her entire form.
To gain such a perspective and hold on steady to it, parents should make an effort to speak to the child’s teachers and school counsellor.
- Take Care Of Themselves
Parents need to take care of themselves. Yes, they do. Unless they acknowledge, understand and work on their own stress and expectations, they are likely to pass these on to the child and make things worse.
- Work On Test Skills
Parents should encourage the school authorities to offer the students with test skills like time management, re-reading difficult questions, writing a brief outline (if the child does not have time to write an elaborate answer), underlining, the tricks with different question types and more.
The entire burden cannot be put on just the parents’ shoulders. Policy makers, school administrations and teachers also need to dive in to make the situation better. And overall, as a society, we need to come together and redefine what testing means and what it implies if we are going to subject lakhs of students every year to it.