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  • 3/7/2011

Test anxiety and tips to ease it (Part 2)

test anxiety

What Makes Anxiety Happen?

Well, because we can’t outlaw tests, we might as well figure out how to ease test anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling a person gets when he or she expects something stressful to happen. When you’re under stress, your body releases the hormone adrenaline, which prepares it for danger, like when you’re running away from your older brother! Adrenaline causes the physical symptoms, such as sweating, a pounding heart, and rapid breathing. These symptoms can be mild or intense.

Focusing on the bad things that could happen can make a kid feel more worried. A kid might think, "What if I forget everything I know?" or "What if the test is too hard?" Too many thoughts like these don’t leave much room in your mind to concentrate on remembering the answers to the test questions. People with test anxiety can also feel stressed out by the physical reaction and think things like "What if I throw up?" or "Oh no, my hands are shaking."

These thoughts can get the person even more upset, making the anxiety even stronger. Now, the person feels worse and is even more distracted and unable to concentrate.

Who Gets Test Anxiety?

Anyone can get test anxiety, but someone who really wants to get every answer right might be more prone to feeling this way. This is called being a perfectionist (say: per-fek-shuh-nist).

Kids who worry a lot also might feel anxious at test time. Perfectionists and worriers find it hard to accept mistakes they make or to get less than a perfect score. This creates more pressure for them.

As we mentioned before, not being prepared for a test (duh!) can cause test anxiety. Kids who don’t get enough sleep also can be more prone to test anxiety.

What Can You Do?

You might be reading this article and saying, "Hey that sounds just like me!" If so, we’re glad you recognize that this happens to you. Now you can start taking steps to lessen your test anxiety. Here are some ways to do that:

Ask for help. Talk to your mom or dad, your teacher, or your school guidance counselor. Just talking to someone about test anxiety can make you feel better. Describe what happens to you when you’re taking a test and these people can help you figure out some solutions. For instance, learning study skills can boost your test-day confidence.

Be prepared. Pay attention in class. Do your homework. Study for the test. On test day, you’re more likely to feel like you know the material.

Expect the best. Once you have prepared, think positively. Say to yourself, "I studied and I’m ready to do my best."

Block bad thoughts.

Watch out for any negative messages you might be sending yourself about the test ("I’m no good at taking tests" or "I’m going to freak out if I get a bad grade"). These thoughts can make anxiety worse and make it harder for you to do well on the test.

Accept mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Be more forgiving of your own mistakes, especially if you prepared for the test and are set to do your best.

Take care of yourself. You’ll feel your best if you get enough playtime, sleep, and nutritious food. This is important all the time, but be extra-sure you get all three the day before a test.

Breathe better. OK, so you already know how to breathe. But did you know that breathing exercises can help calm you down? (Just try not to take in too much air because it might make you feel dizzy.) Here’s how to do it: Inhale (breathe in) slowly and deeply through your nose, and then exhale (breathe out) slowly through your mouth. Do this two to four times and you just might breathe easier the next time you’re taking a test!

Source: kidshealth.org


Other links:

Feeling Too Tall or Too Short (Part 1)

Feeling Too Tall or Too Short (Part 2)

Getting Along With Brothers and Sisters

How to Pick a Great Book to Read

Getting Along With Parents

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