Exam and Assessment Stress and Anxiety
Does your child become agitated or worried at the very thought of sitting an exam?
Does your child's mood or behaviour change in the lead-up to an exam?
Does your child know the work, but the stress of exams often results in them achieving lower results that they are capable off?
Examinations and assessments are stressful because of their educational and/or occupational consequences, as well as strict time limits and for some, the nerve-wracking settings. Passing an exam may be critical in achieving sufficient grades to enter a particular vocation. There is also the weight of perceived judgements and expectations from others, such as parents, relative, teachers and peers, that may heavily affect the child. All in all, exams conditions can make for an extremely stressful period of study, and lead to anxiety and fear. These feelings can surface in changes of mood, agitation, isolation, avoidance of or relentless studying, refusal to eat, and tears. While an optimal level of stress is helpful to keep a person motivated, too much stress is detrimental.
The difficult part about solving examination anxiety is that despite what you do as a parent, an exam is still something your child will need to face alone. However, there are things that both you and professionals can do to help you child manage their exam anxiety. Age appropriate evidence-based treatments such as mindfulness, relaxation, CBT, ACT, EMDR, exposure, home exercises, and psychoeducation can assist. Creating a study plan, goals and schedules can be beneficial, as can investigating the possibly of a previously undiagnosed learning or behavioural disorder.