Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety

  “Whenever I hear someone flip the page, I kinda panic.  I worry that I am behind, and that’s when I start rushing.”     I hear this sentiment frequently on the ACT, SAT, and, especially, the SSAT.  The angst is understandable.  It’s just not helpful.  Let’s look at why kids rush, why it’s not helpful, and what we can do to help.
I have to do well on this test. I have no idea how I am going to do it. Yikes, my whole future depends on it! If I blow this test, everything I’ve worked for means nothing.   If I don’t get into School X, I don’t know what I’ll do. Perhaps you’ve heard these exclamations from your son or daughter. Perhaps you’ve uttered them yourself.
Downtime Is Not Wasted Time – SAT Prep vs. Self-Prep:
I entered my teenage years as my parents' marriage unraveled. Over two brutal years, the usual flood of emotions that occurs with adolescence overwhelmed me as I watched my parents turn on each other. I fell from being the top student in my school into a hole of dysfunction and depression that took me another two years from which to recover. Happily for me, with time situations improved, stress decreased, my grades returned, and I "got back to normal."
Sitting in the hallway of a local school waiting for a student of mine to arrive, I overheard a girl saying she has never been so scared in her life. Her SAT is tomorrow she is telling her friend. She is recounting all the reasons why she is unprepared, how she doesn't have enough time, and that she's sure to crash. Her friend asks her about her preparation and what work she has done. Yeah, well, she acknowledges, still it's going to be a train wreck.
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