Test anxiety is essentially a state of excessive fear or worry about situations involving formal evaluations such as tests or major papers in schools or colleges.
While feeling stressed and jittery before major tests in a normal phenomenon for some, others might find it hard to cope with the pressure. According to the American Test Anxieties Association, about 16-20% of students have high test anxiety which makes it the most prevalent scholastic impairment in schools today. In fact, the majority of students report that they are more stressed by tests and schoolwork than by anything else in their lives.
There are several reasons that contribute to test anxiety; it primarily stems from worrying about one’s self-worth. Students suffering from test anxiety tend to think that acceptance by peers, parents, and teachers depends only on their academic achievements.
According to Dr. Robert Pressman, director of research for the New England Center of Pediatric Psychology, test anxiety has primarily three distinct components such physiological, behavioral and psychological.
Students suffering from anxiety tend to demonstrate typical physiological symptoms such as feeling light-headed, sweaty, tensed as well as experiencing knot in stomach, nausea and rapid heartbeat. Similarly, in terms of behavior, they may either have disorganized thoughts or go completely blank as well. Some common psychological traits during test anxiety range from restlessness to feeling restless and insecure.
From midterms to college entrance exams to finals, high-schoolers face a slew of tests which push their nerves and make them anxious, especially when the dates of these comes approach.
Here are a few tips on how to manage your test anxiety in high school:
Even as this sounds pretty obvious, it’s one of the best ways to avoid test anxiety. The more prepared and confident you are for the test, the less you’re likely to feel jittery. It’s that simple. Don’t start studying the day before a test. Give yourself a few days to let the material sink.
Want to determine your preparedness for the upcoming tests? Take a look at the test prep experts at The Princeton Review and discover your test readiness.
Cramming isn’t an ideal way to prepare for the test. In fact, it makes increases the anxiety about your preparedness. Many high-school students tend to pull an all-nighter, which negatively affects their nerves and their ability to think clearly during the exam. If you want to stay cool, calm and collected, the right approach is getting at least 8 hours of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night to ideally function. However, a study found only 15% of the students reported sleeping for 8 ½ hours on school nights. Let your brain and body rest well before the test.
If you want to have an optimal state of mind, it’s important to eat healthy and stay well-hydrated before the test. Many students skip their breakfast out of sheer anxiety while others indulge in crash dieting, both of which are detrimental to your body and mind. As a matter of fact, eating healthy has been found effective in improving test scores. According to a research by the University of California, Berkeley, a healthier diet positively affects students’ test scores. Make sure your foods are rich in nutrition to keep a healthy regimen.
It’s only natural to feel a bit nervous before the test. However, if you want to avoid letting negative thoughts cripple you, listen to relaxing music before the test. Once you let your body and mind sync with the music, your heart rate will come down its’ normal range.
The feeling of being late for the test is real and it can add unneeded anxiety. To avoid feeling rushed, pack your stuff the night before the test and set your alarm clock to get up early and reach the class for your test with time to spare. If it’s an online test, make sure you browse site beforehand to get a feel of it, especially if it’s your first time.
Negative thoughts fuel test anxiety for high schoolers. Make it a practice to cultivate ways of staying motivated no matter what the situation is. Surround yourself with friends with a positive bent of mind. Read some inspiring quotes and listen to a motivational talk before the test to stay inspired.
It’s always a best practice to read your questions and directions carefully before providing an answer. This applies to multiple choice, long form questions and essays.
Don’t spend too much time on a question that appears tricky right off the bat. Move on to the next question to get in a early groove.
Students can often worry about what others in the room are up to, therefore distracting them from thinking clearly. This happens especially when you’re not self assured and feeling nervous. Rather than looking around, focus on one question (the easiest ones) to build your confidence as you progress through the test. You can even try wearing ear plugs if this helps you block out sounds and disruptions from your classmates.
At the beginning of the test, spare a moment to scan the questions and determine in what order you prefer to answer them. Once you have allocated time for each of those levels, stick to the plan. Getting started without any plans can leave you tense when you realize you’re out of time for the remaining questions.
Deep breathing is a tried-and-true method that helps you slow down your heart rate and keeping it stable. Calming exercises such as yoga and meditation are also effective ways to stave off your nerves and reduce anxiety. There are many mobile apps that can help when you know you have stressful events coming in your life. Universal Breathing, Paced Breathing, Breathe2Relax, Relax Stress, End Anxiety, and Breathing Zone are all worth trying.
If you feel you need help and support to battle test anxiety, you should consult your teachers or school guidance counselors. Simply speaking to someone about your anxieties can be a good first step to help you cope with it.
It’s very common for teens to undergo anxious moments before the tests. However, parents can play a huge role in helping their teens cope with test anxiety. If not treated early, it can translate into a bigger issue throughout your teens life. Here are a few things that you can do to help.
It’s natural for your teen to be unsure about a test and its outcome. However, as a parent, you need to reach out to them and be empathetic about the challenges. Speak to them honestly and be realistic about the whole issue. Telling your kids that you’re there for them regardless of the outcome of the test can be a good starting point. However, sometimes, you need to understand the underlying problems that trigger tension in your teens.
More often than not, teens get nervous because they are unable to strike a balance between balancing their studies and other activities. As a parent, you need to push them to scale back on other things, letting them find more time to focus on studying. You need to help him manage their time for the upcoming tests, setting up a schedule to fully prepare for the test(s).
Teaching them the art of prioritization and time management will help them throughout their lives.
Many teens lose sleep over the types of questions that may be in the test, regardless of how well prepared they are. Some of them don’t really know what to expect from the test. Help your teens anticipate different types of questions that could appear. If the test is on a previous chapter in a text book then take a look at that with your teen. Look at any practice questions that may be available for that chapter. They can then prepare for them well in advance and this will help them eliminate any surprises in the test.
Success in exams isn’t just about good study habits; they are also about learning to stay calm and being able to fight off your nervousness. With the above mentioned tips, you can manage test anxiety and optimize your academic performance.
Crestwood Echo November 1st, 2019
If you’re a high school student, getting a part-time job can be a wonderful idea. In fact, according to data provided by Child Trends, almost half of all young people ages 16 to 24 in the U.S. work either full or part-time. In Canada, 56 percent of undergraduate students have jobs, with the average working student putting in approximately 18 hours a week.
Some studies show that 18 percent of high school students have jobs. This can be a great way to have extra spending money or to save for travel and post-secondary school. Tuition rates are rising and parents are not always able to help fund the hefty cost of post-secondary education. Working is a fantastic way to ensure you have money on hand to contribute to your future.
But there are even more great reasons to work as a teenager. It teaches responsibility, as well as time management and organizational skills. Working will give you a sense of independence and help you gain valuable work habits and experience. Being employed as a teen is also linked to increased rates of graduation and greater earnings in the adult years.
The key is to ensure you’re finding a balance. Studies show that students who work more than 20 hours a week have lower grades than students who work fewer hours. Working too much can conflict with class and leave less time to study and complete school work. It also might detract from participating in extra-curricular activities, such as sports, drama and music. These activities also provide important benefits, so you don’t want to give these up.
With balance in mind, there are some great job opportunities available for students interested in working part time.
The first step is to think about your interests, goals and your current schedule. For instance, do you like sports? Math? Computers? Kids? You might want to offer skating lessons or help coach a team if you’re a hockey whiz. If you excel at math, maybe you can tutor. Ask around or put up signs offering your math services. If you are great at computer coding, there are several small businesses that teach coding to kids. Why not approach them and see if they need help with an after-school program? If you like kids and tend to be free on weekends, maybe you want to babysit. There are many opportunities you might not have considered that tend to be perfect for students. For instance, you can be a lifeguard, camp counsellor, take on a student internship, caddy at a golf club or help a landscaper.
This is also the time to think about your goals. If you want to be a teacher, working with kids or tutoring can be a great entry into that field and will look great on your resume in future. If you’re more entrepreneurial and dream of having your own business one day, this might be a great time to start thinking of ways to make your first business happen.
It’s also important to consider how much time you have available. Do you tend to be busy during the week with academics and extra-curricular activities? You’ll want to look for jobs you can do during the weekends or perhaps during the summer instead of during the school year. If you have an easier semester and tend to have time in the evenings, consider a job that would enable you to work evening hours.
Go online and do some of your own research. There are many job search sites that feature jobs for students. You might find some you’d never considered before. It’s often just as helpful to find jobs you’re not at all interested in doing. This will help you narrow your search and focus in on your interests and needs.
Write down some ideas as part of a brainstorm. Get your friends, parents, a teacher or guidance counsellor involved—they are sure to have some thoughts on how you can proceed. They want to see you succeed and can be helpful in providing guidance when you need it most.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to do and how much time you have to devote to it, get your resume started. If you have one already, that’s great—you’re ahead of the game. Make sure to read it over and polish it off, updating it with a new goal or objective. Start approaching potential employers to let them know you’re interested in applying for a job. This might lead to a phone or in-person interview. Be honest about your goals and the time you have available.
And make sure you have a bank account set up because soon enough you’ll have money to deposit.
Crestwood Echo May 3rd, 2019
For many teens, deciding on a career is fraught with uncertainties which make them nervous about their career choices.
Should a career reflect their passions? Does pragmatism always have to involve going with the grain? What if they have to start their career all over again looking for newer possibilities in an evolving industry? In short, how do they make smart choices?
Some of the greatest advantages for millennials is their comfort with technologies and the seamless integration of their lifestyle into the digital landscape. However this does not mean every young person would or should want a career in technology (ie. programmers, digital marketing etc).
It always bodes well to take stock of where we are and what we want, especially while planning a career. It can set the wheels in motion for a wonderful fulfilling future or can it turn out to be a long and painful professional life.
Looking in the Mirror
When it comes to making the right career choices, maintaining clarity with your thoughts is vital. While some career choices might seem appealing on the surface, they may not be so great in the long run.
Choosing the right career begins with exploring your passion and instincts. Teens should discover their likes and dislikes and think about choosing career options that are aligned with their strengths. Whether you choose technology over arts or a trade over law, make sure you know where your interests lie. Moreover, you need to prep yourself to be mentally resilient and flexible. It’s extremely important for teens to learn how to cope with setbacks in their career journey
Research, Research, Research
The easiest accessible database is Google. One can research a host of career options covering a range of interests. Whether your career motivators are financial, social, artistic etc., there is no limit to the research data available for you. You can even go to job sites to see the wide array of opportunities available. There could be roles to never realized that existed that excite you.
It also pays to look ahead and see how industries and job markets are predicted to change in the future.
Reach out to people who work in the chosen area of interest and communicate with them over email, social media or LinkedIn. Reading up about notable personalities who have made it big or following their blog posts also help assess your career direction.
No online research can beat actual conversations with experienced people involved in industries or careers that interest you. Try to take every opportunity to speak to as many people as possible. And ask lots of questions about what they like/dislike about their jobs and what advice they can give a younger person planning a career in their field.
Start Building Career Skills Early On
As a teen, it’s really difficult to figure out your plans about your career. However, rather than fretting over what’s right or wrong, the best way to deal with this confusion is to do a couple of internships while you’re at school. This will give you ample scope to explore your strengths, likes and dislikes, which will eventually help you make the right career decisions. The good news is making mistakes in your internship won’t probably cost you a huge deal. Use the internship experience hone your skills that will stand in good stead moving forward.
It helps to develop healthy mentor-protege relationship. The mentor should calm your nerves when you are at the precipice of something new but also pick you up when you fall to hard. They are like a very wise human pros-and-cons checklist. They help in deconstructing your thoughts and provide strategies on how to move forward. People-pleasers are not great mentors. Seek those you can provide practical experience with unbiased advice for you.
Develop a Well-defined Career
Dreaming big is one thing but charting your career path is another. Many teens are instinctively ambitious but what they lack is the clarity about their career objectives.
Whether you want be a medical professional or astronaut, you should learn how to develop your career path accordingly. Gather as much information about your career goals as possible. Speak to industry professionals and practitioners and learn about the ground realities. Some career goals will require a decent academic performance throughout your high school and college degree. Be aware of the scores you need and the courses you need to complete to be better prepared for the competitive industry. The more you learn about your goals, the better are your chances of getting there.
Take Risks Early
No matter what your career options are, you need to develop a risk appetite for success. In the rapidly evolving world, it’s important to stay current with you career options and learn skills required to pursue your career goals. When you’re in your teens, it’s easier to take risks since you’re not really strapped with many responsibilities of a middle-age professional. As a parent, you need to encourage your teens to take calculated risks and extend support to help them through the journey.
You Can Change Your Mind
These days a typical working career can last approximately 40 years. That’s a long time.
Because it’s so long, you have time to start a job, learn what you like and dislike as you get more experience and then adjust your career plans accordingly. In fact this can be done several times over a working career.
Nowadays it’s practically impossible to come across anyone that ends their career with the same company and profession that started in their 20’s.
There has never been a time with more flexibility and options for change available to people in the workforce. This can take immense pressure off anyone starting to plan a career in their teens.
Understand the Meaning of Happiness
Remember that your career choices are ultimately the means to an end and not the end in themselves. Regardless of the career you pursue, it’s important to understand the meaning of motivation. There are many who make tons of money but are still unhappy with their life. While money is one key to leading a satisfying life, it doesn’t necessarily ensure an emotionally fulfilling life. If you’re in a job that continually stimulates and rewards with you then you are likely to lead a healthier and happier life. And that is the true measure of a successful career.
Echo Editor February 1st, 2019
Winter is generally that time of the year when we all want to stay at home curled up in our beds. In summer, sunlight brightens our day and makes us active but the cold, snowy winter make can make us lazier. Moreover, days are shorter during the winter season, making it all the more difficult for us to step out for physical activity.
However, just because there is snow on the ground, it does not mean that we have to stop exercising. There are several avenues for staying active during the winter and we as parents should encourage our teens to follow an exercise routine during the winter season to stay fit. For e.g., we could motivate them to participate in holiday themed races or join winter sports teams.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of exercising for teenagers and also about ways to keep your teens active during the winter season.
Exercising or taking part in physical activities like games and sports regularly is one of the best things teenagers can do for improving their health. Exercising helps you feel more energetic and alert. Physical activities lead to increased release of endorphins in our bodies. This hormone is responsible for making you feel good and refreshed after working out. As a result, physical activities make you feel happier and relaxed.
Regular physical activities help in burning calories, preventing teenage obesity and maintaining a healthy weight. According to the World Health Organization, children and youth aged 5–17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on a daily basis. For children and teenagers, physical activity would include games, sports, recreation, planned exercise, school and community activities.
Physical activity creates an increased need for oxygen in our bodies. When we exercise we start breathing heavily due to the increased need for oxygen. Depending on how fit we are, we may notice this need occur earlier or later compared to others. Exercising regularly leads to an increased consumption of oxygen and the capacity of our lungs increases. Over time, regular exercise builds aerobic capacity, delivering more oxygen to our brain and bloodstream, and helps us stay active easily.
Physical activities and exercising can also make you look good. When we exercise, we burn more calories and as a result, we look more toned than those who don’t. This can be a huge motivational factor for teenagers. Moreover, exercising also makes us sweat and release body toxins making exercise extremely important during winters. Moderate exercise also increases your body’s production of natural antioxidants and helps to protect your skin.
Teenagers are advised to sleep eight to ten hours but with excessive use of technology, there appears to be a high sleep deficit among teens. In fact, a study showed that only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights. One of the best ways to overcome sleep deficit is to exercise regularly. When you are active during the day, you typically fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer. Making physical activities a part of your daily routine can help your teens get a more sound and restful sleep. It not only improves the quality of sleep by increasing the time spent in deep sleep, but also boosts the overall duration of your teen’s sleep.
Regular exercising can help in reducing the stress and anxiety levels of your teens. Just 5 minutes of moderate physical activities can trigger anti-stress responses in our bodies. Regular aerobic exercise is known to decrease overall levels of tension, stabilize mood and improve self-esteem. Teens are often stressed due to academic life, peer pressure, and several other reasons. Here are a few fitness tips from Anxiety and Depression Association of America to help your teens manage stress and stay healthy.
Beyond the well-known benefits of obesity prevention and improving bone as well as muscular strength, regular exercising also helps in reducing the risks of a wide range of chronic diseases like diabetics, cardiovascular diseases, bone and joint diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, breast cancer and colon cancer among several other. It also helps in lowering blood pressure, increasing HDL or good cholesterol.
Both your bones and muscles become stronger when your muscles push and pull against your bones during physical activity. Strength training helps develop muscles while also forcing our muscles to put pressure on our bones, thereby improving our bone strength. You could read more about activities that can strengthen the bones and muscles of teens here.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, children and teens should participate in bone-strengthening activities at least 3 days a week. Bone strengthening exercises are especially important for teens because they obtain their lifetime peak bone mass in their teenage years.
Examples of muscle-strengthening activities:
Examples of bone-strengthening activities:
Having understood the various benefits of physical activities for teenagers, we will now look at various avenues to motivate and keep your teens active during the winter season.
Going out to workout during the winters may be a herculean task considering the various layers of clothing you are required to wear. To make things simpler, you could set up a home gym with some basic inexpensive equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, and stability balls. You could exercise as a family to motivate your teen to stay fit.
Getting drenched during the winters may not sound to be a great idea. But swimming, water aerobics and running laps in water are great forms of physical activities that may seem exciting for your teen rather than boring mundane exercises.
It’s winter season which is a great time to explore a new set of outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, ice hockey etc. Encourage your teens to join winter sports teams in your locality and participate in weekly games.
You could get your teens to sign up for basketball, squash, badminton, aerobics or even yoga. Given the numerous options to choose from, you can be sure to find something that would interest your teen.
We all find exercise boring. But with a great company, we can overcome this boredom. This is why having exercise buddies is a good idea for your teens. They could go out for jogging together or they could visit a mall and walk when it’s too cold outside. Nevertheless, exercise buddies are a great motivational factor.
As a parent, set small goals for your teens like jogging, biking or dancing for 30 minutes daily. It is better to set small goals than plan for heavy workouts for a long duration during the weekend. Frequency and consistency benefit our body more than strenuous workouts intermittently. Give them rewards like a movie night, dining out with friends etc., when they reach their goals.
While most of us are already aware of the importance of physical activities, we may still shy away from exercising, given the cold weather. It would be your duty as parents to foster the importance of regular physical activities to teens irrespective of the seasons.
For teens, winter sports and games may seem more exciting than exercising; therefore, we should motivate them to partake in neighborhood winter sports teams.
Crestwood Echo December 24th, 2018
Tags: academically, active kids, ahild's athletic, cpclearns, crestwood, crestwood preparatory college, crestwoodprep, department of health, eduction, excercise buddy, high school, home gym, kids, physical activity, private school in toronto, weekly goals, winter, winter break
The brain is rapidly developing in the teenage years.
We all want our kids to enjoy learning and to make the most of their education. We place value in ensuring they work hard, study for their tests do their homework to the best of their abilities and appreciate the educational opportunities they’ve been giving. A good education truly is a gift.
This sense of curiosity might be even more important than parents realize. Research has shown that curiosity impacts performance as much as hard work. When you’re curious about a subject and study up on it, you tend to retain that information for longer periods. It’s also associated with positive behaviours such as tolerance for uncertainty, humour and out-of-the-box thinking.
These are all skills associated with happiness, resilience, creativity and intellectual growth.
So how do we foster that sense of lifelong learning in kids? How do we ensure they grow up with a sense of curiosity that will motivate them to want to learn and explore throughout their entire lives? Here are a few tips:
Encourage your children to ask questions. If your child asks a question, don’t brush them off with a simple answer such as “I don’t know.” Don’t simply say “good question.” Go the extra step further and help them find the answer to the question they have asked.
Maybe it’s a matter of going to the library and finding a book that explains the topic. Maybe you can go online together and read the literature. Take them to a museum or help them interview someone who has the answer.
There are so many methods of learning and ways to find answers. What is your child’s preferred method? Maybe they are more hands-on. Maybe they enjoy learning by opening a book. Let them know how much you value their curiosity and reward them by helping them discover the answer. They will enjoy the journey and not hesitate to approach you the next time they are curious.
Talk to your child’s teacher. When you communicate with your son or daughter’s teacher either casually or during more formal parent-teacher interviews, ask if they have noticed whether there is anything in particular your child is curious about. What is their favourite subject? What style of learner are they? Do they seem particularly curious about anything? If not, perhaps they have suggestions for how you can stimulate a sense of wonder. Your teacher will know things about your child that you might not have noticed and their experience in the education field will give them valuable insight into your particular child.
Let your child’s teacher know how committed you are to being involved and in fostering an appreciation for lifelong learning in your child. You are a team dedicated to furthering your child’s education and you share the same goals. Don’t hesitate to speak openly to your child’s teachers about this topic.
Encourage your teen to do their homework well. If you step in and help your child right away, they might not have the opportunity to assess whether they understand the work. By helping, you deny giving them a chance to see how resourceful they are. You will also give them the chance to realize what questions their homework will spark. They might even discover they don’t understand the homework at all. You’ll want to make yourself available, of course, to answer questions or suggest ways in which they might find the answers.
If you’re stuck on how to facilitate the process, here are a few suggestions:
Ensure learning happens outside the classroom, too. As much as we prioritize in-class learning, there is so much to be discovered outside of the class as well. The best way to foster additional opportunities is to encourage your child to participate in extra-curricular activities. Perhaps they like sports, music or want to learn a language. Sign them up for a class at the local community centre or in the neighbourhood. If they discover they aren’t interested in that particular activity, try another. Don’t give up. Extra-curricular activities are a great way to make friends, expand their skills, get exercise and figure out what they are interested in and what they aren’t.
Stimulating that sense of curiosity is very important and there are so many ways in which you can help build this sense of wonder in your child. Once you light that spark, there will be no stopping your child in their quest for lifelong learning.
Echo Editor December 6th, 2018