Freezing up on Tests: How to Help Your Kids

Parent’s question

My 10-year-old son freezes up whenever he takes a test. The teacher offered him more time, but it did not help. It just gave him more time to be panicked! Is there anything that can I do to help him overcome test anxiety?

Our answer

The best way for children in elementary school to feel confident before taking a test is simply to keep up with their work and make sure they understand what is being studied. Reviewing sufficiently is another one of the big secrets to facing tests with confidence – not panic!

Of course, that’s easier said than done! So how can parents help out in the process? Guide your child in reviewing his study material every evening. In fact, over-learning material is a major way to reduce test anxiety.

Another helpful hint in avoiding those exam jitters is knowing what will be on the test. Teachers usually review in advance, so that material shouldn’t be hard to get. During the review period, teach your son to write down and underline anything the teacher identifies with a “You really need to know this!” He should also complete and review all the study guides that the teacher uses in class.

Some anxious students also find it’s a big benefit to create “tests” from study guides and chapter questions, to practice taking a test so they realize that they know the material.

Any potential learning disabilities aside, these techniques, if applied consistently, can help your son kick that test anxiety to the curb!

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