23 April 2019

Excessive Admission Exam Preparation and Performance Anxiety

Excessive Admission Exam Preparation and Performance Anxiety

The transition from primary to secondary school is a very important step in a child’s education. This step becomes even more crucial for students who want to attend a private school or be admitted into a specialized study program.

The main goal when registering a child for an admission exam preparation program is to give him or her the best chances of being accepted into the school of his or her choice. Main goal aside, the admission exam process is an important life experience that can bring out a wide range of emotions. No matter the outcome, the experience itself should be a positive one.

Due to circumstances unique to the Outaouais region, admission exam preparation, which can sometimes lean toward the extreme, has become quite popular in the area. Unfortunately, admission exam preparation has also become a business here, one that often recommends excessive and very expensive approaches. Parents feel external pressure to give their child the best preparation out there and most of them are left to wonder how to properly and reasonably prepare their sixth grader for secondary school admission exams in the fall. Unfortunately, some companies take advantage of this fact and recommend study material and courses that can sometimes be both excessive and unnecessary. It is very important to stay vigilant because an inappropriate preparation plan can do more harm than good.

In the end, the goal of preparation should be to help students gain confidence,
making them feel like they can succeed on the day of the exam.
Of course, parents know what their children need
and how they handle their emotions under pressure.

Performance anxiety

One of the dangers of excessive, over-the-top preparation is that it can unwittingly lead to performance anxiety. A certain amount of stress when faced with a whole morning of exams in an unfamiliar school is perfectly normal. It can even be beneficial for some students. However, if this stress increases to the point of overwhelming anxiety, it will keep students from performing to the best of their abilities. Performance anxiety happens when the fear of disappointing others and losing their respect becomes greater than the belief that you can do what is asked of you. It is important to mention that this problem can arise with any exams, not just admission ones.

Not all children react the same way to stress. Some may develop performance anxiety while others display avoidance behaviour that comes across as indifference. Symptoms in both cases can often be the same and include insomnia, restlessness, stomach aches, and many others.

Talk with your child

Families should go through the whole fall admission exam experience together. A positive approach emphasizing self-confidence should be a priority. Whether or not the child gets an admission offer, the experience itself will have allowed him or her to grow as a person.

We encourage parents to discuss all possible outcomes of the admission exams with their children. Knowing the worst-case scenario beforehand and realizing it is not the end of the world will take a lot of pressure off their shoulders. Why not start by discussing the merits of public school? While it is true that public secondary schools have had a bad reputation in the past, in recent years they’ve become more pleasant and engaging places. The main objective is for your child to thrive in secondary school.

Do you want to discuss admission competitions with an educational advisor? Contact us!