“Kayla has anxiety issues.” A mother from Guilford, CT said in hushed tones. “Her anxiety is off the charts when she takes these big tests, like the SATs.”
As is the case when parents tell me that their children have been diagnosed with learning disabilities, many don’t realize just how many students are in the same boat.
Anxiety has become an epidemic. The reasons are myriad and my take will go against the prevailing wisdom. Simply put, it is not because of external factors. The world has not become harder. But rather, we have become softer. I’ll give an example in relation to SAT testing.
When we – parents who grew up in the 70s-80s-90s – took the SAT, the following was the case:
(1) every test counted
(2) students rarely took the test more than twice as it was looked down upon
(3) there was no ACT – at least for those in Connecticut and other East Coast locations
(4) there was no super scoring
Today, students taking the SAT:
(1) Have score choice – students can submit whichever tests they want (some colleges do not honor score choice)
(2) Due to score choice and super scoring, taking the SAT 3-4 times is fairly common
(3) The ACT is an equally used test
(4) Super scoring – taking one’s best verbal SAT and math SAT from different tests- makes the testing game far easier
Here, the external factors for testing are far less anxiety provoking. Yet students feel greater anxiety.
The way to combat: prepare.
And there is no better time to prepare than the summer.