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My 7th grade daughter totally freezes on math tests. She
seems incapable of thinking under pressure even when she
knows the material. The school has been accomodating with
giving her a quiet place to work but nothing seems to
Hi. Good for you for recognizing that your daughter needs help now and
reaching out. Its sounds like you are taking the right steps.
I am a private math tutor and see this often. First, find a good math tutor that
your daughter is comfortable with. Her school should have some
recommendations. The ultimate confidence is knowledge. Second, this may
sound strange but I have seen it work, speak with her pediatrician about
prescribing beta-blockers for test days. They are not a sedative. This will curb
her physical reaction of anxiety but not hinder accessing knowledge. The three
students I have seen this work with only needed them for a year or two and
learned how to take their tests calmly and what they needed to prepare for
Best of luck.
i have exactly the same--7th grade girl w/ math test
taking anxiety. of course this is nothing new (for us--
and i presume for you too); she's been anxious about math
for a long time. oddly, she's actually pretty good at
math (when she can exorcise her demons about it--she calls
them her ''green monster'' and her ''gorilla''--therapist
helped name them). i scored 800 on my math sat's (100 or
so years ago it seems) and her mother is an accountant, no
math slouch herself, so it is no surprise she is actually
good at math.
problem w/ mine (and i presume w/ yours) is just lack
of confidence. could be many reasons for this, but i
don't think they really matter. the important thing (in
my limited experience) is to PUMP HER UP. celebrate her
successes, make a big deal about it when she gets
something right. when she struggles, try not to set the
bar too high for her; sympathize w/ the struggle, tell her
you understand how difficult it is, just keep patiently
working w/ her on it. tell her you think most kids have
this same struggle, but that even if they don't, you know
she'll get it eventually, but she needs to repeat it and
repeat it a few times till it sinks in. but reassure her
that it will (eventually). there is no timetable and
should be no rush. she'll get it when she gets it (w/
each new subject). sometimes you can help her make out a
chart of key rules (such as how to convert percents to
decimals or fractions--and vice versa; or area of circle
vs. circumference/diameter and those two simple formulas;
or difference between adding/subtracting positive and
negative numbers vs. multiplying/dividing them). tell her
you struggled when you were her age too (even if that
isn't exactly true for you, it is true for many, so let
her know it's ok to take time to learn new math
concepts). but mostly tell her that her grade doesn't
really matter all that much to you (and it shouldn't;
she's in 7th grade). tell her all that matters is that
she relax and have fun w/ math--it can be fun, esp. when
you can help her get the anxiety out. it is the process
of learning that is important--her mind being open to new
concepts, not afraid of them, shrinking away from them.
if she can begin to look at it from that process angle,
rather than the very personal ''how did you do?'' angle, the
grades will (slowly) improve.
this has worked some for mine; her math grades are up
from C's last year to B's now, heading toward B+. but
more to the point, she is getting more confident in her
ability, less anxious about it.
I have a daughter who is very bright and is a college freshman. She needs
some help, though, in acquiring strategies for learning and test taking. In
particular, she needs assistance in discovering how she learns best and
strategies to maximize the above. She loves her college but is struggling
with test anxiety and difficulty in taking college exams. Papers? Well
those are not an issue. Any suggestions? I am looking for a cognitive
psychologist in the East Bay Area to work with my daughter over the summer.
My daughter worked with Dr. Bernstein when she was preparing for
the LSAT. She took the test (for a second time) after working
with him and felt it made a big difference.
My high school junior experiences severe test anxiety on
standardized tests. She doesn't need a SAT subject tutor but
does need help in test approach and handling the anxiety of the
test environment. She has taken a decent prep course and used
different prep books. Any recommendations for someone who could
help with this? This is not about getting a few more points on
a test - this is drawing-a-blank, melt-down sort of anxiety.
I have looked at the previous recommendations and but most are
skewed towards subject tutoring.
As a former teacher of test prep, I had students just like your daughter.
Two of them benefitted greatly from hypnotherapy. I haven't tried it, but it
worked very well for them. Both ended up scoring as well as they did in
practice. Good Luck!
Test anxiety is just terrible. A few suggestions: Your child may
have a learning style difference that demands more time to take
tests. Unfortunately this means being tested for a ''learning
disability'' and being approved by the school, which is a taxing
process. You might ask your medical doctor for a prescription
for a betablocker--then I would recommend taking a very, very
small amount of the pill under the tongue about 1/2 hour prior
to the test.Do a trial first to see if the drug causes
drowiness, or doesn't feel right. Your child might benefit from
this very small dosage prior to future tests, public speaking or
other anxiety-producing events. No regular taking of the drug is
necessary. Finally,working out a test taking strategy, not
talking to anyone prior to the test and wearing earplugs might
help a little.
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