For many children the word exam or test is a very stressful word. Many children suffer from exam fear .As soon as exam dates get closer their anxiety increases. There are various steps that a parent can take to try and reduce exam fear.
Defining Exam Fear
This is best described as an anxiety that a child experiences ,leading up to and during exam time .It can result in poor performances in exams.These children can even experience sickness which seems real to them and as a result they have to miss an exam .Almost 40 % of children experience this at different levels.Mostly children find it very difficult to vocalize their anxiety.
Causes of Exam Fear
- Pressure by Parents and Teachers to get good grades.They may be worried of punishment that they may get if they do poorly.Also of letting their parents down .
- The child themselves has too high expectations .
- A child may suffer from low self esteem and confidence in their abilities.
- Fear can arise when a child has failed in the past and they are worried that the same will happen again in the coming exams.
- A child can be fearful of the exams if they know that they have not prepared adequately.
Symptoms that children may show when they fear exams
If you as a parent have a good relationship with your child they will hopefully discuss there exam fears with you.However there are a few symptoms that parents should watch out for :
- The child seems to suffer from a complete blank out of memory when sitting the exam
- Signs are shown as the exam approaches of increasing anxiety and nervousness.
- The child has a problem with falling asleep .
- Increasing nervousness about situations even if they are unrelated to an exam.
- The child will experience frequent urination.
- A very common sign of anxiety is a stomach ache .
- These along with headaches ,nausea and even shivering can mean the child is extremely worried about exams.
Things to consider to help reduce exam fears
Good parenting -reduce the pressure
As a parent it is important to think carefully if the pressure you may be placing on your child is contributing to their exam anxiety.Support the child tell them that it is alright if they don’t do as well as expected.Don’t compare their current results with others.Once a child finds out that their parents will be supportive they often relax.
Help your child Prepare
If you do not know then find out what the test format is .Is it in the form of multiple choice ?Is it a few short questions followed by essays?If your child is familiar with the format it will help them feel better prepared.
Reorganize study material
Talk to your child and try and establish which big events and issues they have discussed in class.Think about themes that may unite these. This is often a more attractive way of studying for a child .It will help them to get a richer understanding and interest in the topic.
Think about questions that may arise
Talk through with your child and try and predict some of the questions . Practice writing these .Even if they do not come up in the exam it will help your child practice the overall revision.Look at questions from old assignments.
Set aside a study Area
Make sure that your child has a calm quiet area to study in .In this sort of environment a child will study well helping to reduce those exam pressures.
Make sure there is Relaxing Time
Make sure that your child also sets aside time to relax .It is important that time to listen to music ,play sport or chat to friends is built into their day .This will as well help to reduce pressure and in fact helps concentration when study sessions are broken up into manageable time periods.
Exam time is a stressful time for students and their families.A parent should encourage and support their child. Make sure that the above suggestions are taken into account . Love your child be patient and supportive during this time.