They say one of the top fears is the fear of failure. Fear and anxiety go hand in hand. Even standard summative tests made with examination software can invoke the feeling of anxiety followed by depression in students. As exams approach, it heightens the fear of failure in students, as it is difficult for them to imagine the post failure scenario. They have to cope with what happens if they fail. That’s one of the major reasons why students face mental blocks while studying. Their minds often go blank when they see the exam paper even after they had been studying for it last night.
So how do the teachers help students make this anxiety go away?
Help students prepare in advance
Live musicians and actors practice their music and lines so much that they can perform and recite with their eyes closed and by heart, respectively. Help your students practice and provide them counseling if they need it. Take some time at the end of the class to reiterate the importance of revising the class lecture. Inform the class that the more they prolong their studies till the last minute, as they will not be able to finish the syllabus in time.
Cramming sessions one night before the exams, it seems, has become a tradition no generation has been able to fully let go. It is by far the most commonly used way to prepare adequately. As a teacher, you can direct them to use a better alternative.
A test maker can be used to prepare small formative tests in order to give the students an idea of their standing in the course. This should be done beside the tests that count towards the overall grades, and will reemphasize the importance of studying after lectures. If used effectively, this tool will encourage the student to perform well. Combined with plenty of rest, this helpful technique will help students recall what they learnt better compared to cramming everything overnight.
Don’t worsen it by saying “Just Calm Down”
Repression causes heightened fear and anxiety. Psychology teachers know this very well. Telling students to just calm down will only worsen their fear because it is not dealing with the underlying issue. If a teacher empathizes with the student, letting them know that their feeling of fear and anxiety is perfectly alright, that does half of the job. They can easily go on to the next stage of dealing with their anxiety. Teachers can play the role of coaches and mentors, providing students with a way to deal with their feelings of anxiety before tests by questioning.
You can help students by using a test maker to prepare an anxiety test to educate them how anxiety is ruining their health and abilities. With such reasoning and logic, students will be more motivated to study at the right time and prioritize more effectively. They will be able to deal with the resistance build-up to studying.
All is not lost, there is still hope
In more pressing situations, the teacher shouldn’t just give a bleak response or a cold shoulder, but should help the student by mentioning their strengths and give words of inspiration to boost their spirits so they make their best attempt at the paper. The student will hopefully learn from their mistakes and prepare more easily for their course exams during the course of the semesters.