My daughter studies hard for tests but never gets good scores. When I ask her about it, she tells me she “freezes” and can’t remember anything. Is this possible? How can she learn not to freeze on tests?

While almost everyone gets nervous about tests, your daughter might be suffering from serious “test anxiety.” Test anxiety has a number of symptoms, including the one described as “freezing,” when the student can’t seem to remember anything she studied.

Researchers offer a number of reasons for test anxiety. Some label it a social phobia, a fear of being criticized or humiliated by people over performance on a test. Others blame it on a lack of study skills or poor preparation.

Assure your daughter that test anxiety is common. Help her identify her symptoms. Common symptoms before the test include: a loss of sleep or appetite; a feeling of dread or a sense of hopelessness; headaches or stomachaches.

She can reduce some of the pre-test symptoms through relaxation, exercise and self-talk. Immediately before the test, she can talk to herself with positive ideas. This might sound silly, but it really can work. Talk about how hard she studied. The test is not a measure of her quality. Ask her to visualize some thing or place she enjoys.

The severe forms of anxiety occur during the test. Students might feel that nothing on the test makes sense. They find themselves reading a question over and over again and wasting most of their test time.

To reduce her anxiety during the test, your daughter can take slow, deep breaths for about two minutes. This will help slow down her thinking and is physically calming. She should admit being anxious and have a look around the room. She is not alone; everyone is nervous.

These suggestions might not work on every test your daughter takes. It will take some practice for her to relax and feel confident. Help her prepare as often as needed. Remind her, on several occasions, that the test is not a judgment of her worth.