[ HOME ] [ NEXT ] [ BACK ]



 Tips & Articles


My Child Fails Every Test

Tests make them nervous

It’s inexplicable, but your child just can’t seem to do well in tests. It’s not that he’s lacking in intelligence because you’ve personally done revisions with him and he definitely knows all the answers at home. But his test results are always poor to dismal.

Today, the pressure on children to perform and achieve is tremendous. Parents are pulling out their hair and feeling like they are back in school again as they try to jog their memories and fathom the mysteries of fractions, decimals, maps, historical events, and the basic principles of science. They will try anything to get their children to perform – cajoling, screaming, bribing, extra classes, etc. But sometimes nothing seems to work.

The problem, in such cases, is one of test anxiety. Children become so nervous about the test that when faced with a blank answer sheet, their minds go blank, even if they are well prepared. Most parents find it hard to believe that mere nervousness can make a child forget everything he’s learned and fervently pray that he’ll grow out of it. 

Short circuit of the brain

Some researchers give a physiological explanation for test anxiety. According to them, when a child prepares for a test, the information is stored in the short-term memory. The area of the brain that controls short term memory is also the centre for emotion. Thus, when a child becomes anxious during a test, the emotional upheaval overrides the child’s ability to retrieve the information from the short-term memory. 

Studying the wrong way

Sometimes a child may have used the wrong method to prepare for a test. For instance, a child revises for a spelling test by spelling the words out orally, but when faced with the blank lined sheet of paper, he cannot seem to get the spellings right. In such a case, it may be a good idea for parents to give him a mock written spelling test at home the night before.

Too much pressure

Parents can unwittingly pressure their child to such an extent that they cannot perform. Even before they have answered the first question, they are worried that they might not meet their parents’ expectations of their performance. This anxiety obviously steals their concentration and they perform poorly. Parents should try not to lay too much stress on the importance of doing well in the test. No doubt, it is important, but if your child is going to be so petrified of failing that it affects his performance, how does it help? Try to make them look at tests from another point of view, as a method for teachers to assess whether their teaching is effective. Reassure them that you’re sure that they’ll do better next time. 

Lack of confidence

Other children are just not confident enough. There are many children who revise the material again and again because they are convinced they don’t know it well enough. Even though they are so well prepared, the same children will be twiddling their pencils between their fingers, desperately thinking about what to write during an exam. This happens because when they see even a couple of questions to which the answer doesn’t immediately come to mind, they are convinced that they know nothing and accept defeat without even trying to recall the information. 

Studying is ‘uncool’

By the time they are teenagers, it’s not considered ‘cool’ to study too hard for tests. As a result, studying is usually done at the last minute and naturally leads to panic. Children cannot be expected to absorb information if they are constantly wondering if they’ll be able to finish studying the material before the night is over. The best that parents can do is to make their children put up the test schedule on the calendar so they know how many days they have to go before the test. It’s another matter entirely whether children actually look at the calendar. 

[ HOME ] [ NEXT ] [ BACK ]