Test anxiety can occur in different developmental stages. Exam anxiety can also be seen in primary school children, young people preparing for university, and adults who have completed compulsory education but apply for exams to continue their personal development. Anxiety is an emotion that everyone has, and sometimes taking action is necessary to stay motivated. Exam anxiety can be mentioned when anxiety negatively affects the result or process of the exam and prevents the person from using the information he/she has learned effectively. Physical symptoms such as sweating, difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations, nausea and tremors are observed in the person experiencing exam anxiety. They struggle with feelings such as intense anxiety, unhappiness, boredom, and fear. There are negative thoughts of “I will fail”, “I can’t do anything in the exam”. At this stage, ignoring the feelings of the person, acting like a temporary situation and not understanding can cause an increase in the existing anxiety state of the person and the emergence of mental disorders such as depression and sleep disorders.
What Should Families Do in Case of Exam Anxiety in Children and Teens?
Families need to know in which situations they will interfere with their children and in which situations they will not. They should avoid constantly asking questions about the exam. They should state that they trust their children, that their support will continue no matter what the outcome, and they should avoid comparing the child with other peers. The child who is compared to others does not study more efficiently or does not follow his example, on the contrary, he feels inadequate and thinks that he is more worthless than other children. Sharing feelings and thoughts, empathy is important. It is recommended not to glorify the exam, not to make a life-and-death problem, and to be encouraging.
Children should be loved unconditionally. Family members should be appropriate role models, provide a suitable family environment, and develop appropriate problem-solving behaviors.
It is recommended that the child receive psychiatric and psychological support when mental disorders occur (depression, sleep disorders, etc.), when he cannot cope with anxiety, when his functionality is impaired due to mental problems, and when he exhibits physical symptoms.