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Middle School Test Anxiety and Study Skills

  
  
  

middle school test anxiety in private schools in sugar landDoes your middle-schooler become worried and nervous before exams? With academic pressure high in public and private schools in Sugar Land, test anxiety is common and can have a negative effect on academic performance.  Good news!  Test anxiety is manageable with the right support from parents and teachers. Help your child put his test into perspective and his mind at ease by following these tips:

Before the Test

  • Get organized!  Judy Hassell, Middle School Counselor at Fort Bend Christian Academy, suggests students use a checklist to organize the materials they will need for the test and be aware of test dates and material to be covered. Being prepared and studying several days ahead of test time prevents the chaos of cramming and reduces panic.

  • Develop specific study techniques for different types of test questions:  True/False, Multiple Choice, Matching, Essay, and Fill in the Blank. 

  • Promote relaxation. Banish negative self-talk. A poor attitude is likely to receive a poor outcome. Try these ways to relax before the test!  Avoid talking with any classmates who have not prepared, who express negativity, who will distract your preparation, or try to convince you that you are not prepared.

  • Physical exercise is an important way to reduce anxiety and stress.  For several days before the test, walk around the block, play a sport, or try some stretching exercises for your neck and back.

  • Rest and eat well. Sleep deprivation can contribute to memory loss and low concentration, so get plenty of sleep, especially the night before the test. A full night’s sleep and the right foods are key to optimum performance. Fruits and vegetables on the day of the test are recommended while processed foods, eggs, chocolate, junk food, and foods containing preservatives can actually heighten levels of stress.

During the Test

  • Relax! Remember to remain calm by breathing deeply and thinking positively.  Change positions to help you relax.  Study Guides and Strategies recommends that if you become fearful or anxious to pause, "think about the next step and keep on task, step by step." 

  • Take your time.  Always read the directions carefully.  Ask the teacher to explain the directions to you if you don't understand them.  TestTakingTips.com suggests you "skim through the test so that you have a good idea how to pace yourself." Do not rush because others finish quickly.  There's no reward for finishing first!

  • Answer what you know and move on. Come back to questions without a certain answer after confidently answering what you know.  "If you are taking an essay test and you go blank on the whole test," says Mrs. Hassell, "pick a question and start writing.  It may trigger the answer in your mind."

After the Test

  • Have a reward, no matter how the student thinks she did on the test. She deserves it for her hard work and effort.

  • Evaluate later. What was done correctly before and during the test? What could be done differently?

  • Plan for the next test. Without dwelling on the negatives, form a guide for the future. Continue practices that were effective and incorporate new ideas until anxiety is kept at bay.  Check out these additional homework skills and study habits!

  • Parents can help give their student a vision of success by providing tangible tools, helping the student become organized and better prepared.  Mrs. Hassell says, "When success comes in mini-steps, it should still be applauded by the parent.  Everyone, including our kids, need positive encouragement in reaching their goals."

Finally, "Scripture memory is a powerful tool in the heart of someone who worries," suggests Mrs. Hassell, "A spiritual element is important for the anxious tester."  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Phil. 4:6 (KJV)

You're invited to visit Fort Bend Christian Academy, a premier private school in Sugar Land for grades PK-12. Discover for yourself the FBCA difference - Schedule your visit online or call 281-263-9105.

Learn more about FBCA's Elementary, Middle and High School Campuses!

 

 

Comments

I like the use of notecards for studying- not only does it make memorization of test material easy for most learners, but it builds confidence as the student has a visual representation of how much they have learned as they go. For anyone interested in have some study tips on my school psychology blog.
Posted @ Friday, January 11, 2013 10:17 PM by Mike Bishop
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