It may not be the end of the world to have to take a test, it still may be to some children one of their greatest fears and may cause them a lot of anxiety. Some kids get so anxious about taking a test that they can often start exhibiting physical ailments due to the anxiety. Some want to cry, some want to run out of the room and others may actually get physically sick. There are some things that you can do that might help to lessen the anxiety of taking tests.
Understand that for some children learning something comes a lot easier than it does for others and you need to let your child know that even though an “A” is a nice thing to shoot for, it’s the effort they put out that is the most important. After all there are some kids that barely have to turn a page in a book and they still get an “A” while others will study all week and they barely make a “B”. So praise your child for all the time and effort they are putting into their studies. You should also encourage them and give them rewards when you know that they are truly doing their best. Make sure that they want to try and earn an “A” for their own personal reasons and not yours.
Make sure that you try and prepare them for their tests on a daily basis. Make sure that they hand in all of their completed homework assignments. Because if you child keeps up with all of their daily school work they are going to be able to absorb more than they would if they waited until the very last minute to try and cram everything in.
You also should give them some practice tests at home. You should try and give them at least one test a week on their different subjects that they are studying. Sit them down at a table in a comfortable chair and turn off the TV, don’t allow any phone calls and then have them take your test. While they are taking your practice test teach them how to remain calm, especially if they are getting frustrated. Make sure to praise them when they are able to remain calm and finish the test. With each test the confidence level of your child is going to increase.
If your child has negative thoughts about test taking you need to gently help them to change those negative thoughts and try to find more positive ones for them to concentrate on. Try to convince them that the more tests that they take the better they are going to get at them. Have them remind themselves that the more they study the better they get at taking tests. This can actually help to lower their anxiety come test day.
You might also want to teach your child to do some deep breathing. Deep breathing for anyone is calming and this can calm your child down. Teach them how to take deep breaths so they can practice doing this before they take their test. This will lower their anxiety immensely and probably without them even realizing it. Make sure to practice the deep breathing with them at home so they are sure that they know how to do it on their own when at school.
Teach them how to mentally see being calm while they are testing. Make them close their eyes and then tell them to imagine that they are at their desk taking a test. Then tell them to try to see themselves as being totally calm and confident with themselves. Gently walk them through this when their eyes are still closed. Tell them something like “You read your first question and you know the answer.” “You read your second question and you know the answer.” “You are totally relaxed.” Continue doing this quite often at home and you might be able to get your child to do this quite easily on their own.
Make sure that the night before the test they get plenty of sleep and when they get up in the morning make sure that you give them a nice healthy breakfast and make sure that they get off and running to school on time. Being too tired, still hungry and not getting to school on time are three things that are going to throw them off and they may not be able to do well on their tests. Make sure everything is calm the morning of their test and that they have everything need packed in their backpack. This is something that should be done the evening prior.
Final Note: Whatever you do, don’t ignore this problem and think that it’s simply going to go away on it’s on, because it more than likely won’t. So address it head on and take care of it before it gets worse. One bad testing experience will turn into two and so on.