Tutor Doctor | Mar 24, 2014

Overcoming Test Anxiety

Many students suffer from anxiety when they have to prepare for and write tests and exams. Some get nervous because they are ill-prepared, while others get bogged down in stress regardless of how well-prepared they may be. When students are anxious, they are unhappy and their stress can negatively impact their ability to prepare for a test and their performance on the day. You can help your students to overcome their exam anxiety for a happier, healthier learning experience.

Symptoms of test anxiety

Anxiety may be accompanied by physical symptoms like head and stomach aches, nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness, loss of appetite and vomiting. There can emotional symptoms too like irritability, anger and fear. When students have to operate under this kind of duress for extended periods, they lose focus.

Anxiety can inhibit their ability to concentrate and affect their memory. Higher cognitive functioning also suffers, making it harder for them to solve problems and comprehend complex data. Anxiety also impacts their ability to sleep and reduces appetite. Not getting enough rest or healthy nutrition affects memory and overall academic performance.

Stress busters

Start from the very beginning by setting realistic academic goals for your students. Help them to get organized by scheduling sufficient study time to prepare adequately for upcoming exams. Don’t do all the organization for them, rather teach them how to record all their upcoming papers and tests and how to organize their time.

Ascertain whether their anxiety stems from a genuine feeling of being overwhelmed. Are they struggling with a subject? If they just aren’t coping, help them to catch up and keep up by getting them an in-home tutor. One-on-one tutors can discover the missing building blocks in your student’s knowledge and skill set and can remedy this so that your student has a solid academic foundation to build on.

Tutors are also able to teach study skills and time management while showing your student how to organize information in a way that suits their learning style. They can help them to build confidence and provide the skills your student needs to work independently.

Happy thoughts

A positive attitude and confidence are two of the most vital arrows in your student’s academic quiver. If they have an inner dialogue that says they are dumb, just can’t do it or that they are bad at math or science, then that has to change.

Help them to recognize these negative thought patterns and to catch themselves when they fall into bad attitude traps. When they have a negative thought, they need to stop, take a deep breath and replace it with a positive one. You can help by focusing on positive reinforcement when they are on the right track.

Sweet dreams and healthy meals

Getting enough sleep is essential to a stellar academic performance. Ensure that your student doesn’t stay up too late studying, limit sugar intake and make sure they get enough sleep.

While most students like to live on sugar and junk food while they hit the books, opt for healthy, nutritious meals. The brain only takes up 2% of your body mass, but it uses 20% of the energy. So give your rocket the right fuel to function.