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TEST ANXIETY: A Silent Epidemic among Children

Every year, millions of students come face to face with a recurring problem that seems to haunt them more than the proverbial “monster under the bed.” This persistent challenge has been called by academicians and behavioral experts as —- test anxiety.

This form of school-related stress hounds the kindergarten pupil as much as the Ivy League scholar. Test anxiety is when a student becomes so nervous about taking an examination that he can no longer perform well. This is actually a type of performance anxiety that prevents a student from reading and writing the right answers to a test. Sometimes, a little anxiety can serve as a motivation for a student to prepare and study harder for an upcoming examination. But if it already creates a paralyzing effect and disrupts daily routine, it may already be a case that must be referred to the academic supervisor or to the school psychologist.

How do our children get test anxiety in the first place?

Among the most common reasons for getting “school stress” is the student’s lack of discipline and preparation. Knowing that insufficient or no preparation was made to satisfactorily hurdle an examination, a student would naturally feel nervous about taking the test.

Another cause of test anxiety is the inappropriate content or level of difficulty of a test. Using the principles of learning, a teacher cannot force a student to learn a specific body of knowledge or learning content that is usually reserved for higher academic levels. The frustration and difficulty of learning a specific lesson may end up discouraging the student.

Sometimes, the high expectations of parents can also lead to stress in children. Being young, children also need to play and have fun. An exaggerated emphasis on academics may leave your child feeling left out of games other children play. Too much study may also drive children to eventually disdain the tough of going to school and taking exams.

So what can parents do to help their children cope with test anxiety?

First, parents should set regular study periods so that their children do not “cram” for the exams.

Second, parents must monitor the test results without nagging their children about the scores. The act of questioning them about how well they did in the exam may only cause more test anxiety.

Third, it is best for parents to regularly meet with teachers to find out the real score on how their children perform in school.

Indeed, school should be fun and it must be the last place for our children to have fear. It should be a place of adventure where they can express themselves without nervousness…where every test would be a chance to show their knowledge, skills, talents — without any concern except to do their very best.

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