Exam nerves – how a private tutor can help you take control
Every student feels nervous before an important exam or test – the secret is not to let anxiety affect performance…
London-based tutor Ann Ashton, who has coached children of all ages for exams for the past 30 years, reports that one aspect of exams is always consistent.
‘More marks are usually lost through the student’s nervousness than through their lack of knowledge. They basically panic,’ she says, ‘and in this panic, they don’t read the questions thoroughly. In particular, they don’t register the different amount of marks allocated for each question. They might spend too much time worrying about not knowing the answer to a question, say, worth five marks when they should be concentrating on the question worth 25 marks.’
Exam worries – lack of knowledge or deeper anxiety?
The above is a typical scenario that can be improved with lots of exam technique practice. But today’s students, who, from a young age, have to cope with high expectations and pressure, are prone to more generalised exam anxiety. Niggling worries about an impending test can interfere with sleep patterns, lead to loss of appetite and difficulty in concentrating, and result in a spiraling decline in self-confidence and performance. The exam period is a frustrating time for everyone in a household. Parents may worry about a child’s apparent lack of interest and motivation. Pupils may not want to listen to well-meaning suggestions from their family and may appear to reject their support. The intervention of a private tutor – with a more objective approach and less emotionally involved – introduces much-needed elements of confidence and calm.
How you can help as a parent during exams
Acknowledge feelings and perceptions as real
- Ensure early nights so that your young person gets enough sleep
- Understand that due to stress, organization and memory can go ‘offline’
- Have a ‘You’ve got this’ attitude’
- Check on appetite and food/water intake
- Encourage meditation and breath work
- Talk about summer plans
- Provide plentiful stationery supplies
- Help with revision/flashcards or drawing out understanding/knowledge
- Show how self -talk can reframe a panicking mindset