Procrastination is a common problem for students in high school and college. Frustrated parents often believe their child’s procrastination comes from laziness or lack of motivation. But this is not always case. In many cases, procrastination is the result of test anxiety.

One spring morning, a mother and daughter entered my office. The girl, Jenny, was beautiful, athletic, talented, and a highly intelligent sophomore in college. Her angry mother was upset about her daughter’s decreasing grades and academic performance. My job was to help Jenny do better in school. I learned that despite her poor grades, Jenny was a high achiever who completed her papers early, was the captain of her volleyball team, and the president of her sorority. It was clear to me, that laziness was not her problem. What was really happening was that there was so much pressure on Jenny to perform well, that she was terrified of failure. She became so nervous when studying for tests that she put it off. She also felt guilty and helpless for being unable to control her fears. There were huge demands on Jenny to perform well in school and plan out her future.

Many students, like Jenny, suffer from performance and test anxiety. The competition is fierce and in a recessed economy jobs are harder to find and future career paths are more uncertain. Parents, who have sacrificed time and money for their children’s education, pressure them to be top tier students. Jenny’s mother “had fun” in college but regretted not doing better academically. She feared that her daughter was following in her footsteps. In reality, Jenny’s dropping grades was not caused by fun or laziness.

I gave Jenny a copy of the Test Anxiety Guru program to help her relax before studying. When I saw her again a few weeks later, she said the program’s relaxation techniques and positive suggestions helped her feel more courageous and optimistic. She could focus on the test at hand rather than worry about how a failing grade would wreck her future. She approached exams confidently and was happy with her test scores. Acknowledging her anxiety helped her mother become more supportive and less critical. Jenny felt happier about school and more relaxed about her future.

Adults who blame procrastination on laziness may need to look more carefully at the situation. Young adults are worrying more about their futures than ever before and procrastinate in order to avoid feeling anxious. Test anxiety is a common and treatable problem. Overcoming it will make the road ahead - a lot smoother.

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Author's Bio: 

About Benjamin Moss, C.HT

Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist Benjamin Moss, has been in practice since 1989 specializing in enhancing test performance. Benjamin developed and refined his test-taking program during twenty years of private, one on one sessions with his clients. He works with test-taking clients from all over the world, helping them pass exams in medicine, dentistry, law, psychiatry, psychology, nursing, accounting, real estate and computer science, as well as helping students with college and graduate school entrance exams. He works extensively with police officers and firemen to stay calm and focused for their professional exams.