How To Ease Your Child's Math Test Anxiety

By KBJR News 1

How To Ease Your Child's Math Test Anxiety

December 7, 2010 Updated Dec 7, 2010 at 6:54 PM CDT

Posted by Melissa Burlaga

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) A new survey of U.S. teens reported in education week reveals that contrary to perceptions that American teens are apathetic about math and science students highly value those subjects and understand the important role those subjects play in their futures.

Yet plenty of kids still suffer from math test anxiety, which effects learning - and performance.

With exams coming up before schools break for the holidays, how can parents help?

Barbara Reyelts has that story for Connect with kids.

Many kids have anxiety over math tests.

"I mean, I can get it, but it's like when test time comes I panic about the math parts because I'm afraid that I might get the wrong solution."

"And you feel like you have to do well to keep up with everybody else and it just puts a lot of pressure on you."

But here's the problem: according to new research, anxiety and worry happens in the same part of the brain that is used to take a math test or any other test.

"And because they're fighting with that anxiety and that distraction, sometimes even at an unconscious level- having to compete with that and do the task decreases their performance."

So, the more you worry, the lower your grade and that problem gets even worse on a high stakes test, like the s-a-t or a state- wide promotion exam.

"The more they talk about how it will affect the school and like each person individually, the more stress it puts on the students."
Experts say there are ways parents can help.

First, it's crucial their kids get a good night's sleep, have them eat a healthy breakfast, and experts say, reassure them it's just one test- and worrying won't help.

"Yeah, we want you to do well, but if you don't do well, it's not going to be the end of the world'."

"Try not to stress about it too much, because if all you're thinking about is how well you're going to do then you're probably going to mess up, because you're not concentrating very well."