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How do you deal with your teen's test-taking anxiety?


Teens experience a lot of pressure and anxiety during adolescence. Test anxiety is an intense form of performance anxiety, which interferes with a person's ability to concentrate while taking a test. Teens with test anxiety worry about forgetting the material or doing poorly on the test, and they can become stressed to the point of blanking out and losing their concentration and focus. Anxiety is the body's response to stress, and it can have physical symptoms, as well, such as headaches, nausea and sweating. These physical symptoms can cause additional stress, lack of appetite and difficulty breathing. It's very hard to break this cycle of anxiety, as all the negative thoughts make you feel worse and make it more likely that you won't do well on the test.

Teens who are perfectionists put themselves under a lot of pressure even if they are excellent students, and they often suffer from test anxiety. Students who haven't studied but want to do well can also suffer from text anxiety as they feel the pressure to perform well. Parents can help their teens by recognizing the signs of anxiety. Teens might go through panic attacks, crying fits and mood swings, as well as pessimism regarding their chances at success in an exam. To help teens through stressful situations, listen and understand. Help them to manage their time, make sure they eat healthy food and sleep well, and encourage them to share their concerns without focusing or dwelling on them too much. Involved parents can help their teens set realistic goals. Acknowledge the efforts your teen makes, and don't add to the stress by pressuring or expressing disappointment in achievements. Keep a positive attitude, help your teen relax, and always offer your reassurance and support.