Nov 1, 2012

Exam anxiety

Category: Pregnancy and Birth
Posted By: Debashis

Question: My son is studying in class 9. He is good at maths and science at home or at school, but he does not perform well in examinations. He has private tutors who say that they do not know the reason. My son says that when he gets the question paper in the exam hall, all seems blank to him. Please suggest what to do now and what to advise him. Debashis

Answer:  Hi Debashis, I’m afraid it sounds like a pretty clear-cut case of exam nerves to me.  From what you say he appears to be perfectly capable and to have all the necessary knowledge.  However, when he gets to a pressurized environment, he is unable to manage under the stress and is frozen by anxiety.

It may help to talk to him more about what happens in the exams, to name it as exam anxiety and help him think of ways to cope with it.  It will also help to take the pressure off a little so that he knows that you are not expecting great results each time but are happy that he is doing his best.

If this doesn’t work then in may be necessary to seek the help of a therapist or psychologist for some short-term support to help him manage this area of anxiety.  There are some clinicians who may suggest medication and anti-anxiety prescriptions.  I would strongly suggest against this at this stage.  It is important for your son’s long-term wellbeing to learn how to manage his anxiety under pressure and he will not manage this if he takes medication to do it for him.

I hope this helps and I wish you well with the issue,


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