Test Anxiety: How to Slay the Dragon
Flagler Parent|November 2019
Test Anxiety: How to Slay the Dragon
It’s test day, and your little one has a whole list of reasons why he can’t go to school. Tummy ache, headache, too tired…and sadly, the real reason is he’s afraid of the big, scary test he’s heard so much about.
By Jan Pierce, M.Ed.

According to the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children as young as five years of age can feel apprehensive about taking exams. They worry about bad grades, failure, disappointing teachers and parents, wrong answers and more. The youngest may worry about what the test looks like and what a correct answer should consist of. Will she have to type on the computer? Will he fail to understand the directions?

The entire world of school testing can seem like a scary dragon ready to breathe fire on your son or daughter. But before you scream in a frenzy of test-anxiety drama, here are some common sense ways to deal with the scary prospect of testing.

Recognizing the Problem

Test anxiety can cause children to offer vague symptoms of illness to avoid the object of their fear. Fear of failure is a powerful emotion and some children are more prone to it than others. In extreme cases, test anxiety can cause physical problems such as headache and nausea, rapid heartbeat and emotional outbursts of anger. The child feels overwhelmed and unable to cope. He may have an inability to focus attention in the testing situation or she may indulge in negative self-talk, “I’m such a loser, I can’t do it.”


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November 2019