Has this ever happened to you? You have studied hard for your mathematics test. However, when you open and study the question paper, your mind goes blank. You notice your sweaty palms and a knot in your stomach. We all experience butterflies in our belly when we are up for a big performance or test.
It is proven that a little nervousness can actually help you perform better. However, when this distress actually interferes with your performance, it is called test anxiety or ‘testophobia’.
Test anxiety is a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations. Here are some more examples of test anxiety outside the classroom situation:
- You are participating in a dance recital. You have practised for months, but as you go on stage, you forget your moves.
- During a work presentation, you get so nervous that you forget your points.
- You are an athlete, but as you walk amongst the crowd, your nerves get the better of you and you miss the goal/ score.
Symptoms of test anxiety
How do we differentiate between regular nervousness and test anxiety? Here are some pointers. The symptoms of test anxiety are both physical and behavioural.
Physical symptoms include:
- Sweaty palms and rapid heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Frequent visits to the bathroom/upset stomach
- In extreme cases – fainting
Behavioural/ emotional symptoms include:
- Low self-esteem
- Substance abuse
- A feeling of hopelessness
How you can help yourself
- Be prepared: This is the most expected answer to this, but of utmost importance. The more kids are sure of their preparation, the less anxious they will be. Start preparing in advance, not just the night before.
- Rest before the test: Most children stay up late on the night before their tests for “last-minute reading”, and this practice is not the healthiest one. At least eight hours of sleep will ensure that they are well rested and fresh to face their fears. Eat well before the test.
- Be positive: Ensure that you keep feeding your children with positive thoughts. Replace “I can’t do this” with “I studied hard and I got this”. This can help manage the child’s stress level.
- Don’t be a perfectionist: Teach your children not to spend time on one question trying to get the perfect answer. Move on to the next when you are satisfied with one answer.
- Time Yourself: Train your children to read the full question paper before they start with the first question. Give time slots for each answer so that they don’t run out of time. Starting with the easiest questions helps to gain confidence.
- Seek professional help: Depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms, your physician may also recommend seeking the help of a counsellor. It will help your child change both the behaviours and underlying thoughts that contribute to unwanted behaviours or feelings.
- Try our SleepTalk programme: This programme is designed to build and encourage self-esteem among children. We will train you on how to shape your child’s subconscious mind while they are in a light sleep. The SleepTalk technique empowers children to achieve their full potential without letting stress affect them. Try this life-changing programme to notice a visible difference in your child’s testophobia!