Assisting Students to Cope with Test Anxiety
Assisting Students to Cope with Test Anxiety | Education Magazine

The modern educational system has introduced numerous developments and innovative approaches towards curricular enhancement. Nowadays, concerned authorities give more importance on various approaches like personalized and project-based learning, competency-based education, and so on. However, here, another factor to be stressed upon is the necessity of high-stakes testing. Teachers and students realize that a lot is riding on their shoulders. As a result, they dedicate a lot of time and effort at home and school, preparing for the final exams every year. Many students feel determined to appear for the tests with a positive attitude, while for others, it turns into a situation of all-out test anxiety.

Experts define examination anxiety as a type of performance anxiousness, which makes students extremely nervous about taking a test. It can occur when students have an inherent fear of failure, or when they feel extreme pressure of performing well, or when they have had poor experiences with tests. Such situations can result in various physical symptoms like nervousness, headache, nausea, light headedness, and so on. It can also lead to feelings of helplessness and difficulty in concentrating. Students with serious test-anxiety will experience these symptoms, even if they have prepared hard for the test and know the material inside out.

Role of Teachers and Parents in helping Anxious Students

For every teacher and parent, the prime motive is to help the students to excel in exams. They aim to reduce their stress levels and comfort them as much as possible. In order to fulfill these objectives successfully, educators can use the below-mentioned methods:

Discovering the Students’ Fears

It is essential to develop a better understanding of why a student is experiencing test anxiety. This will help to figure out an effective way to deal with the situation. Some students will express their feelings better than others, while others may need some persuasion to do the same. However, asking more questions to the students regarding their problems, insecurities, and so on, will provide valuable clues as to how to calm a student and help them tackle their fears.

Maintaining a Focused Perspective

Although tests are important for a student’s academic growth, it does not necessarily mean that they will define their career, or impact their future. It is a known fact that these are mere assessment tools focused on improving the students’ performance. For adults, it is easier to understand this perspective than the students. This is because, parents and teachers have experienced both success and failure. They know that both are part and parcel of life, and no matter what happens, the world keeps changing. Sharing this perspective with the students regularly and offering them gentle reminder that no test defines a person’s intelligence, success, or worth can be of tremendous help.

Prioritizing Efforts

When it comes to tests, students can take control of circumstances by studying and preparing beforehand. This will give them a lot of confidence and peace of mind. Teachers can ease things up by creating a well-thought-out plan, which will give the students the opportunity to brush up on their knowledge and skills. It is also essential to make them aware and comfortable with the type of test environment they will experience. They should always be at the lookout for opportunities, where they can give students extra opportunities to clarify their doubts, hone their skills, and get rock steady for the upcoming exams.

Embracing Effective Test Taking Strategies

For teachers, effective test taking is also an essential skill. They have to calm down nervous students and make sure they have honed their test taking skills. Before taking the test, teachers should make sure that the students are thoroughly informed about the course content. They can instruct students how to implement best practices including reading questions completely before answering them, skipping questions that students do not know the answers of in order to save time, and reviewing answers before submitting the paper.

Emphasis on Positive Elements

Students with test anxiety develop negative patterns of thinking when it comes to tests. They focus on all mistakes that they could make, think about everything that could go wrong, and how bad the test scores could be. In such a situation, teachers can shift their focus on some positive past experiences and boost their confidence. Students can be asked to share their experiences about a test they performed well on. Teachers can ask them how they prepared for the for the test, how did they feel before and after the exam, and so on. Encouraging the students to remember their abilities can help the students in overcoming the negative attitude towards exams, while calming their nerves in the process.

Assistance in Preparing a Study Schedule

Many students struggling with test anxiety spend countless hours in studying, revising, and preparing very hard to excel in the exams. However, in order to ensure success, it is essential to prepare properly and implement the plans accordingly. Teachers and parents can help students to create study schedules that they can follow at home. It is important to encourage students to manage time properly for studies, extracurricular activities, and fun and relaxation. A proper schedule can help them manage stress, feel confident in their preparation, and effectively use the study time.

Tackling anxiety is very crucial for academic and career development of students. It is essential that teachers and parents work together and carry out the right procedures to encourage students and boost their morale. This initiative will help students in achieving curricular excellence and better career outcomes.

– Ananda Kamal Das

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