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How to overcome test anxiety

Anxiety is a basic human emotion consisting of fear and uncertainty that typically appears when an individual perceives an event as being a threat to the ego or self-esteem. One of the most threatening events that causes anxiety in students today is testing. When students develop an extreme fear of performing poorly on an examination, they experience test anxiety.

Test anxiety is a major factor contributing to a variety of negative outcomes including psychological distress, academic underachievement, academic failure, and insecurity. Many students have the cognitive ability to do well on exams but may not do so because of high levels of test anxiety. Since societal emphasis is placed on testing, this could potentially limit their educational opportunities.

Test-anxious students express anxiety behaviorally by procrastinating and having inefficient study and test-taking skills. Studies contends that test-anxious students have a more difficult time interpreting information and organizing it into larger patterns of meaning. In addition, some students may physically feel tired or exhausted during test administration because they do not have a healthy diet, have poor sleeping habits, and fail to routinely exercise.

SUGGESTIONS TO HELP STUDENTS OVERCOME TEST ANXIETY There are a number of strategies that you, the parent, may utilize to help your child effectively manage test anxiety.

Parents should:

* make sure their children attend school regularly.

* create and maintain a home environment that will help their children be well rested during regular school days and during the week of testing.

* evaluate their children's academic progress over a period of time rather than on one single test score.

* talk with their children and encourage them to do their best.

* be proactive, contact school officials if they have questions.

Test anxiety is something that impacts students from all ethnic backgrounds and levels. Helping students learn to effectively manage such anxiety is a challenging task that requires a genuine team effort. Students, parents, teachers, school counsellors, and school administrators must all find ways to be actively involved in reducing test anxiety. We live in a test-taking society and when students are anxious during tests, they are less likely to perform up to their academic potential.

You don't have to struggle with test prep. You can also download a copy of our e-book, Study Smart by clicking here

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