Anxiety; It is the state of physical, emotional and mental overstimulation that a person experiences when he encounters a stimulus. Test anxiety, on the other hand, is this state of hyperarousal before, during and after the exam. In exam anxiety, the exam itself does not cause stress, the way the person perceives the exam causes anxiety. For this reason, some students are very comfortable and successful in exams, while others are anxious and fail. In children and adolescents, who tend to catastrophize or exaggerate the events they encounter, an irrational belief that a worrying situation will be dire and disastrous often accompanies anxiety. Considering the exam as a dangerous situation causes anxiety. Continually preoccupying the mind with the moment of the exam and what will happen after the exam (such as disappointment) and worrying about this cause test anxiety. Exam anxiety negatively affects the child’s study, attention, school success and daily life.
Why do they experience test anxiety?
perfectionist personality structure
High expectation level
bad work habit
Postponing duties and responsibilities
Fear of failure and being evaluated
Fatigue, insomnia and malnutrition
Don’t take every situation as a disaster.
Suggestions for parents in solving exam anxiety
A realistic balance should be established between the parents’ own expectations and the child’s capacity-limits.
-Parents should avoid anxiety-increasing approaches such as “You can’t earn by working this much”, There’s a little time left, don’t embarrass us” with the intention of increasing the child’s desire to work.
-No comment when the child talks about the exam; but it should be listened with understanding, showing empathy. Thus, his true feelings are understood. In these conversations, the child should be made to feel accepted by the parents with his success and failure.
– Constantly “Work, you don’t work!” Instead of saying, “How’s it going? What did you do? Wanna take a look together? Is there anything you want from us?” approach should be adopted. Attitudes that are too stimulating, too directing, and advice increase the child’s anxiety level. Again, very protective attitudes should be avoided, and the child’s age-appropriate initiative should be supported.
-An approach where positive feedback is at the forefront is very important.
-The child should not be compared with his/her environment, friends or siblings like “They are successful, you are unsuccessful, they are not good”.
-The child should be well-known by the parents according to his age and personal characteristics.
He should be encouraged to do activities he enjoys.
– The child should be told that the exam is only an opportunity, there are other opportunities in life. A peaceful family environment should be provided.
– Time should be reserved for the child by the parents.
His effort should be appreciated.
– The message “We are with you no matter the outcome” should be given.
Support and treatment approaches are arranged according to the cause and severity of exam anxiety.
First of all, it is evaluated how much test anxiety affects the academic skills and daily life of children and young people. It is determined how much anxiety affects attention, sleep, school success, self-confidence, exam and academic performance. Again, it is determined whether anxiety is a result of mental problems (such as attention problems, mobility, impulsivity, learning problems) or whether additional mental problems are experienced due to anxiety (such as depressive complaints, obsessions, sleep and attention problems). A support and treatment approach is developed for the causes of anxiety and additional problems.