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Sitting through tests can be a nerve wracking experience for some, yet nothing more than a proverbial walk in the park for others. For many students, exam stress can ultimately curtail an otherwise stellar performance on test day as pressure to excel mounts.

Sweaty palms and a dry mouth, or even total memory loss on the big day are all manifestations of exam nerves in some form or another that can leave a student disappointed in his or her performance following a concerted effort during preparation stages.

What causes students to get overly stressed about exams?

Exam nerves can affect anybody, the main cause of which is pressure on a student to perform at peak on the day. This pressure can come from a range of places including personal ambition, parental expectations or pressure to keep up with the rest of the class.

Huge academic expectations on a child can place undue pressure on a young mind that can have adverse effects despite its good intentions. Parents are warned to look out for signs that their child could be under stress with respect to their schooling by checking in on them regularly.

As a parent, check in with yourself to assess your role in how much pressure your child feels  with respect to schooling and consider better avenues to helping him or her succeed academically. Keep in mind that just talking about difficulty with school work can be embarrassing for a child, so keep conversations with your child open, engaging and as non-confrontational as possible.

Here are some more reasons for the onset of exam stress

  • The student could be worried that he or she may fail
  • Is struggling with the subject matter and isn’t getting help for it
  • Is overly competitive and wants to outperform the rest or please others
  • Is ill prepared and/or doesn’t have the time to study at home
  • Has a very busy life outside school which causes other stresses
  • Lacks the confidence to speak up

Is there such a thing as good exam stress?

To a degree, yes. Students who approach exams with a level healthy optimism and readiness do also experience a form of exam stress. However, the main difference between these students and those who suffer under the same scenarios is the level if confidence each has about being tested.

Exams can be viewed as a risk of being exposed for not understanding school work. Children who successfully “fly under the radar” will typically avoid being put under the spotlight, thus causing them to dread exam day.

On the other hand, students who feel assured that they will master the day will come prepared and ready to perform. Helping a child nurture a positive outlook towards exams and academics as a whole involves constant engagement that allows him/her to freely express concerns or insecurities and helping map a path towards mastering those challenges.

Transforming nervous energy into positive potential

An open line of communication between parents and children are key to picking up on any unhappiness about school or school work. Parents should continuously evaluate their child’s attitude and sentiment towards school and talk to teachers about any concerns they may have. Also, consider having your child complete a learning assessment at a reputable institution to help you better understand areas of study that may be causing them difficulty.

Boost Education offers students a range if support mechanisms to help them ace their exams by addressing root causes of academic challenges. Our approach is to provide students with relaxed environments in which to express themselves on an individual basis through highly personalised teaching approaches.

Our 4 per student classes facilitate attentive teaching with tutors ready to jump in and work with students to master specific challenges. We also keep an open line of communication between students, parents and schools to create the most supportive environment possible for your child to learn and grow. Talk to one of our tutors at your nearest centre about our range of tuition, crash courses and other services.