Testing anxiety can cripple even the smartest child. At Lake Forrest Prep, we try to ensure that our testing environments — both virtual and in-person — allow children to do their best. However, we understand that the nature of testing itself can overwhelm children. Here are some ways to help children overcome testing anxiety when it strikes.
Study early and in a designated “study zone”
Cramming for a test the night before will add to the anxiety any child feels about the exam. Schedule 20-30 minutes each day to review for a test starting the week before an exam. You can even help your child prep for a larger or cumulative exam starting a month before. It also helps to dedicate an area of the house for your child to study. This will help them focus, and research has shown that studying the material in a similar location helps with recall.
Establish a pre-test routine early
Younger children might not have exams, but they’ll still be reviewed on what they’re learning. Get young children accustomed to “pop quizzes,” even if it’s an informal quiz about their vocab words or simple math questions. Keep these pre-test opportunities lighthearted and fun; this makes tests less intimidating as they get older.
Go to bed early
It’s tempting for children to stay in bed studying until they fall asleep. However, that studying goes to waste if they’re unable to stay awake during a test. Send your child to bed a little earlier than usual on nights they have a test. They’ll feel more rested and prepared. If they’re worried about not being able to fall asleep, remind them that rest is how the brain processes and saves all the information they get each day. By sleeping, they’re helping that study session they had early be saved and ready to use for their exam.
Get good fuel the day of the test
A healthy diet powers our brains just as much as it powers our bodies! Opt for a healthy breakfast of lightly sweetened oatmeal or eggs with some fruit on the side. A little bit of natural sugar will help your child feel more energized, and the proteins will keep them fuller so a growling stomach won’t distract them. Skip high-sugar drinks like orange juice and sugar-laden cereals. Processed sugars can cause an energy crash and brain fog during an exam.
Have a testing strategy in place
Every student should have something in place that makes them feel confident about the exam as they take it. For some kids, it’s “when I don’t know an answer, I skip it and move on.” Other kids like to guess an answer to finish all questions and then review each one with the time remaining. What works best for each child will differ, but encourage your student to have a strategy that helps them remember that the test is not impossible.
No need to rush
There’s no reward for being the first person done in an exam! Kids shouldn’t feel bad about not being first. Remind your child that the first person done is rarely the one with the highest score on an exam. Tell them to take their time and double-check their work if they have time remaining.
Testing anxiety is a prominent issue and tests are a huge part of a child’s educational career, and feeling better prepared at a young age can help students become more confident in high school and college. At Lake Forrest Prep, we want to help our students succeed. As a leading Orlando private school, we want to encourage our parents to play an active role in their child’s education. To learn more about what sets us apart from other area schools, schedule a tour online or give us a call at 407-331-5144.