Hi BPN -
Looking for advice to help with test anxiety. My fifth grader experiences this and struggles to complete tests -- especially math tests. Here are some of the things she describes that happen when taking a test: She becomes immediately overwhelmed and nervous and forgets how to do the problems. She is unable to recall anything and just sits there feeling anxious and stressed. The few questions she manages to answer are usually wrong -- for example, she frequently will add instead of multiply or will transpose numbers. She loses all focus and ultimately gives up. Her anxiety skyrockets when the first person turns their test in -- she then goes into a spiral of feeling stupid (her words) as she observes more students turning in their tests. When she gets home, she tells me what happened and falls apart. It's painful to watch and no matter how much I reassure her that I'm not concerned about the test and it's okay and offer suggestions for next time, she cries, feels like a failure and questions her intelligence.
Primarily, I'm concerned about the anxiety and inability to focus. Additionally, I'm concerned about her inability to take a test given middle school is around the corner and feel like we need to get her help asap. She doesn't have any learning differences that I'm aware of and she does know the material and is meeting grade level standards. I've mentioned this to her teacher but have been told that she's doing fine and should continue trying to focus and trust her ability to answer the questions. I'm going to continue talking to the teacher as I think we need additional intervention. She experiences what can only be described as a mental health crisis when confronted with a test. I worry about how much this is impacting her self-esteem and confidence in herself. Telling her to "just keep trying" is not helpful and she is clearly distressed.
I would not describe her as generally anxious or suffering from anxiety in other facets of life -- just this one area. She's a pretty happy kid overall except when it comes to test taking.
Would love to hear from anyone who has been through this and any effective coaching or therapy that helped your anxious test taker.