My Daughter is Very Anxious About Writing Exams in School – How Can I Help?

Exam anxiety is not simply due to doing poorly on exams as one would expect. Even students with very high marks can and do experience high anxiety. Beneath the experience of exam anxiety is the fear of performance evaluation. The students who typically do well and those who generally don’t do well, can still suffer from the same underlying fear; not knowing how they will perform. It is this not knowing, the underlying uncertainty of the outcome that can be one cause of exam anxiety CEH v10. Unfortunately,

if left unchecked, this anxiety can become highly associated with taking exams and will continue to plague your child, creating havoc with their academic confidence and therefore, their ability to perform well under academic pressure.If your daughter’s problem is associated with the uncertainly of her performance on an exam, then the real solution would be for her to know with some degree of certainty how she will do.

The only real way to get an estimate of how she will do on any exam is to practice responding to the information BEFORE she gets anywhere near an exam. While your daughter cannot know exactly what the exam questions will be, she can definitely get a very good idea about the extent of the information. Therefore the idea is not to determine the exact questions, but to know for certain, the information that is ‘fair game’. One mistake students consistently make is trying to guess what is going to be on an exam. That is far too narrow of an approach to take. An exam only looks at a very small portion of what has been taught. It is a small sample, drawn from a much larger pool of information. Otherwise, exams would have to be as long as the entire course.

I would recommend that your daughter make up her own exam questions based on all of the course content. An easy way to do this is to get a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. The questions go on the left and the answers go on the right. This helps her brain to pair or associate the questions with the answers. By repeating this process several times before an exam, she will be creating long-term memories of this information. If she can respond correctly to her own questions, and she creates questions from all of the content, then she will have greater confidence that she will perform well on the exam.

This method helps eliminate the underlying fear that is producing the anxiety. You daughter will have a much stronger idea of how she will perform on the actual exam because she will have practiced on her own. It takes a bit of effort, but reducing the anxiety that is created from the unknown, will free up her energy for actually taking the exam and not worrying about.

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