Guest Post by: Dixie Somers
Most parents don’t look forward to the day that their teens become licensed drivers. While the idea of your not-so-little one getting behind the wheel to drive on their own terrifies you, you need to remember there are advantages to your teen getting licensed. With a license, your teen can get a job of their own. You also no longer have to spend your free time being a taxi driver for your child and his or her friends.
No matter how apprehensive you might be about your child getting his or her license, your teen might be feeling nervous about their final driving test. Test-taking anxiety may be common, but it can often lead to a poor outcome—even failing the test. Many times, good student drivers don’t pass the test because they let their nerves get the best of them, leading to distraction and mistakes. Luckily, there are some ways you can help your teen get past their nerves so that they can be confident. Keep reading for a few tips to help you calm your teen’s nerves and prepare for their first driving test.
Do a Practice Test
Although you might have practiced with your teen for months, it is helpful to set up a mock test before the big day. In fact, if you get yourself a clipboard and tell your teen what skill they need to show you they will get a feel for what the real test is like. Always tell them what you are testing them on so that they can build confidence when the real professional gets in the car. Let them know if they did not signal before switching lanes, if they did not brake in time, or if they need to brush up on parallel parking. By identifying what needs to be improved upon, you can narrow your focus on what to test. It can even be helpful to practice driving in the area where the actual test will be held. That way, your son or daughter won’t get disoriented or distracted in an unfamiliar area during the real test.
Schedule an Early Appointment
Setting the driving test appointment in the afternoon or evening just gives your teen more time to get anxious. The whole day, the only thing on their mind will be passing their test. Over-thinking can be a detriment to any test-taker. You can help your teen by scheduling the test early in the day so there is less time to obsess. While this isn’t always a possibility, it can be helpful to get the test over with early on—so it is still something to consider if you have the option.
Help Your Teen Brush Up On the Manual
Your teen may be a confident driver, however, some teenagers are not good test-takers, so they might be worried about the written portion of the test. Some kids blank out on everything they have learned when they get nervous, and make simple mistakes that can be costly. If your child is worried about the written section of the test, you can help by going over anything in the manual they are having trouble understanding or remembering. You should never cram all of the information the night before a test—your teen driver needs to put in study time long before the test. Instead, you can help your teen study a week or so in advance and then give them a practice written test the night before. By doing this, you can find out where you need to focus your attention as you do any last minute quizzing.
Be Positive, Even If They Can’t Be
You are your child’s support system for anything that they do in life. If they are second-guessing themselves it can affect their performance on their test. Psychologists have found that when you reassure your teen that they have what it takes to pass a test, they are more likely to go into the test confident. Positive thinking can help your teen overcome the negative thoughts that could be the reason why they are not achieving their goals.
Reassure Them That They Can Retest
Not everyone passes their driving test the first time around, and it is good to help your teen understand that failing is not the end of the world. Yes, you want your teen to be a safe driver, but you also want them to be a smart driver. If this is the first time around, there is room for error. Putting too much pressure on your teen will make them even more nervous for the test, so encourage them to focus and do their best. Tell your teen to see this as an opportunity to get familiar with the feel of the test and they may be more apt to pass the first time.
Test taking anxiety is something many have to get past. If your teen needs help, support them. Stay positive, help with studies, and test your teen yourself. Being a strong support system will help to calm their nerves, and enter the test cool, collected, and confident.