Help Your Teen Deal with Exam Anxiety

No matter who you are or where you live, stressful situations will recur throughout your life. After all, most of us will experience a difficult driving test, family crisis, job interview, wedding, or childbirth. It’s important to be ready for the curves life throws at us.

At Young Lions Youth Organization, we help kids develop coping mechanisms to guide them through tough circumstances, and maintain perspective. These important life lessons will serve them well as they develop into adults and beyond.


What is Test Anxiety?

Performance Anxiety, which some people experience when their performance is under pressure, includes Test Anxiety. An individual might experience performance anxiety before auditioning for the school play, singing a solo on stage, taking the mound in a pitching competition, stepping onto the platform in a diving competition, or walking into a crucial interview, for instance.

Test Anxiety might cause “butterflies,” a stomachache, or a headache, similar to other occasions where a person could have performance anxiety. While they wait for the exam to be given, some students may feel jittery, overheated, or as though their heart is beating rapidly. A student experiencing extreme test anxiety may even feel like they are about to faint or vomit.

Test Anxiety is not the same as performing poorly on a particular test due to your attention being diverted. Most people are aware that distractions, such as a breakup or the death of a loved one, might affect their focus and prevent them from performing well on an exam.


Teen Test Anxiety Symptoms

Numerous things influence Test Anxiety. Students may struggle academically, have a history of performing poorly on examinations, or have other disorders like ADHD or other learning difficulties predisposing them to fail.

Some young individuals will always experience some anxiety before an exam. Others may find it a life-altering event that could cause a panic attack or mental collapse.

Whatever the underlying cause, any of the physical signs listed below could indicate that your kid is experiencing Test Anxiety:

  • Headaches, nausea, or vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat, profuse sweating, dizziness, or fainting spells
  • Breathing issues, agitation or fidgeting, attention deficit issues


Exam Anxiety Strategies and Stress Management Techniques

Parents frequently experience test stress as well. We care about our kids’ welfare and want to support them, but frequently are unsure how to. We can help and support our kids in a variety of ways as they learn to manage their stress and anxiety.

Eagle Eye Tutoring, a DC-based tutoring service, helps parents and students become more competent and confident facing challenging courses and tests by using the latest science about cognition, stress and achievement. Their philosophy can be summarized as: Simplify, Strive, Succeed.

 Simplify: Break down the task into solvable pieces. Determine what students need to know and help them understand how best to commit that information to memory.

 Strive: There’s definitely no progress without work. But there’s also no progress without understanding the sources of one’s mistakes. Help students analyze their mistakes, learn from them and maximize their performance.

 Succeed: There are many ways to measure success. There is a lot of emphasis on scores and grades, but, it’s equally important to teach students to identify their strengths, to fortify the weak spots, and to reach their potential. Yes, there are important external metrics, but it is also critical for students to celebrate progress. Happiness, success, the joy of learning. Those are pretty good goals!


Here are some suggestions for you to use when your stressed-out and worried youngster approaches test season.

  • Switch from thinking negatively to realistically.

This requires a balanced approach – considering all situation factors, not just the negative ones.

Self-talk, the things we say to ourselves without saying them out loud profoundly affects how we feel. It’s crucial to recognize this self-talk. Your teen may begin focusing on the thoughts going through his head when he feels anxious. Unintentionally, anxious thoughts occur simultaneously as physical symptoms of worry, such as a racing heart, butterflies in the stomach, nausea, or sweaty hands.

  • Put a little stress to good use.

Your body uses stress as a warning system to help you be ready for a big event that’s about to happen. So you can use it to your benefit. Take an active stance rather than reacting to the stress by dreading, whining, or worrying about the test with pals. Let anxiety serve as a reminder to prepare thoroughly for an exam. You should prevent your stress from spiraling out of hand. After all, no one ever gets anxious when they think they might perform well on an exam.

  • Accept your mistakes.

You should also work on maintaining perspective after making mistakes, especially if you tend to be hard on yourself or are a perfectionist. Everyone makes errors, and you may have even heard educators or sports figures refer to them as “learning opportunities.” It’s important to develop the ability to accept little setbacks and errors, like the one question you got wrong on the Math pop quiz.

  • Help children unwind and refresh.

Children can focus better with relaxation techniques. Performance can be enhanced, and a sense of calm can be brought on by using guided imagery, meditation, and relaxing each region of the body (beginning at the feet and moving up to the top of the head). Even young kids are being taught to meditate in schools, with good outcomes!

  • Be ready.

Some students believe learning and performing well on exams can be accomplished simply by attending class. But learning is much more than merely remembering what was taught in class. No amount of cramming or studying the night before an exam can replace the deeper level of learning that occurs over time with solid study habits and skills, which is why they are so crucial.

  • Find test examples and practice questions.

The experts at Eagle Eye Tutoring remind parents that students’ motivation can decline as days lengthen and the school year draws to an end. Therefore, it’s wise to keep practicing.

Many people’s Test Anxiety stems from not knowing what to anticipate from a specific exam or test. Look for sample questions and exams to study for and practice at home so your teen can feel more at ease on test day. The internet is a wealth of knowledge regarding SAT questions, graduation tests administered by the state, and other common exams taken by students.


The Long Game

Learning to overcome Test Anxiety requires time and effort. Although it won’t go away immediately, dealing with Test Anxiety will teach your teen how to control stress, which can be invaluable in many life situations.


Car Credit is proud to support the Young Lions Youth Organization’s efforts to level the playing field for Tampa’s low-income youth. Young Lions appreciates the generosity of Car Credit’s owner, Tampa philanthropist, Steve Cuculich, for helping them share crucial information with both our English and Spanish speaking neighbors.

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