Test anxiety is one of the most common forms of stress school-aged children face. Stress can cause changes in the body and brain that make it hard to think clearly.
To tackle this problem, UGA Cooperative Extension experts have a few recommendations when preparing for your child’s next test.
• Allow plenty of time to study. Waiting until the last minute to study increases stress hormones and can actually decrease memory. Preparing a written study schedule for tests can prevent your child from waiting until the last minute.
• Choose a study partner who can help with the subjects that will be covered on the test. Studying with another person can help relieve some anxiety and make the task a team effort.
• Don’t let your child drink too many caffeinated soft drinks on test day. The sugar and caffeine will eventually cause him or her to “crash.” They also can cause your child to think less clearly. Junk foods that are full of sugar and carbohydrates can have the same effect. Instead, choose snacks and drinks that are healthy brain foods.
• Find a quick relaxation technique that helps your child calm down. Most stress occurs during the first few minutes of the test. If this happens, spend a few minutes relaxing before the test. Some relaxation methods are stretching, yoga, exercise, imagery, meditation, walking or squeezing a stress ball.