The fear of failing an important test – many children and adolescents suffer as a result. According to a study by statista, every second pupil in Germany is nervous in an examination situation. And the pressure on the school lines does not diminish in the course of school life. On the contrary, the higher the degree, the greater the pressure. What began with harmless nervousness can then turn into true fear and you should learn what to do when your child fails a subject. And this, in turn, can lead to more severe psychological and physical symptoms. How do you recognize test anxiety in your child and how can you help him to overcome it?
What does “examination anxiety” mean?
Actors use the term stage fright. Students call it examination anxiety. No matter what you call it, it means nervousness and tension before important situations. These can take on different forms and are usually accompanied by time and performance pressure.
The tense feelings are unproblematic as long as they do not become too extreme. Scientists have even found that a medium level of examination anxiety helps to deliver the necessary performance. Because with such an emotional state, you are not indifferent to the exam and you are very receptive. In addition, one prepares oneself sufficiently, because one takes the upcoming task seriously.
If your child is very nervous before exams at school, you should still keep an eye on this. Fear can increase and affect your child’s performance. It is harmful when it is so strong that it causes great physical and psychological stress. This can have a negative impact on your child’s concentration, exam preparation and playback, and health.
Note: The examination anxiety does not always refer to the examination situation itself, but very often to the result. Those affected believe that they will fail. Similarly, preparation or an examiner can cause anxiety if your child has had bad experiences with it.
What are the causes?
Examination anxiety is often caused by children perceiving the situation at school as threatening. At the same time they think that they cannot deal with it. They do not feel up to the test and consider their abilities to be too low.
Causes of examination anxiety
This shows that the causes are subjective. Those who are afraid of exams attach great importance to the task at hand. On the other hand, he considers it probable that he will not be able to accomplish this. The children put themselves under too much pressure, which leads to inner tension. The reason for this can lie on the one hand in themselves, because their demand for their success is very high.
On the other hand, this can also be caused from outside. If parents have too high expectations and communicate them to their children, fear of failure can arise. For this reason, it is advisable for mothers and fathers to be careful with their expectations.
How can you tell that your child is afraid of class tests, lectures, etc.?
When students are facing an exam, they show many typical symptoms: They have wet hands, have to go to the toilet all the time, and their stomach is weak. These signs are usually not alarming, because they manifest themselves in a moderate level of exam anxiety.
However, if the anxiety becomes greater, further characteristics are added. If you know your child well and observe him carefully, you will quickly notice that something is wrong.
The enormous stress in the body can eventually lead to a disruption in the transfer of information between the nerve cells. This favours the so-called blackout. This results in a void in the head and the student no longer knows what he has learned. The inner state of excitement blocks the ability to think.
Caution vicious circle: Even if your child is well prepared, his panic can prevent him from showing his knowledge or ability. The test fear paralyzes it in the truest sense of the word. This can result in a bad result. This, in turn, makes the fear of failure even greater next time. Because the thought is obvious that it will happen again. This can become a vicious circle and increase the fear of testing more and more.
How children overcome exam anxiety
As this is an extreme state of tension or even panic, relaxation is the most important remedy for anxiety. It can therefore be helpful to do something beautiful with your child and distract him or her before the exams. After learning, you can watch a movie or play a game with your child. Targeted relaxation exercises can also help against exam anxiety. Because those who are relaxed cannot feel fear.