fuffy asks:

My 11 yr. old boy struggles with tests. How can I help him?

My 11 yr. old boy struggles with tests, he does great on classwork and homework, but not on tests, he keeps promising that he will do better, but not most of the time, please give some advice on how I can help him, thanks
In Topics: Tests (preparing, taking, anxiety!), Teen issues, Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Nov 11, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It can be heartbreaking to watch your child struggle in school. If your son does great in his classwork and homework, but struggles with tests, he may be experiencing test anxiety. Ask your son to describe how he feels before a test. Does he experience sweaty palms, racing heart, or irrational fear that he will fail, even if he studied? Does he freeze up right when the test starts and forget all the stuff he studied? If in fact he is experiencing test anxiety, the good news is that there are many things he can do to relieve the anxiety. Have him work with the school counselor on relaxation techniques he can use before he starts the test. Taking deep breaths and repeating positive thoughts in his head can make a big difference. Often, we don't realize how many negative things we tell ourselves when we're stressed out. If we change those negative self statements to positive ones, we're more likely to do better on the task. Have your son practice saying positive statements out loud before he goes to school such as "I am going to do great on this test," or "I studied the material and I know I am ready to answer the questions."

If test anxiety isn't an issue for him, it may be the way he's studying that's causing him to do poorly on tests. Does he try to cram all his studying into the night before the test or does he study the wrong material? Set up a plan for studying for his next test. Start a week before the test. Have him talk to his teacher and ask for the specific topics that he should be studying. Each night have him spend a certain amount of time studying solely for the test. Offer to help him studying with flash cards, or help to quiz him on the material. Make sure he is free from distractions such as television, cell phone, and other distractions such as siblings. Give your son lots of positive praise when you notice him studying, distraction free, or doing positive things to reduce his anxiety before a test.

Consult with your son's school counselor for more tips on relieving test anxiety.

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