Spring is quickly approaching, which means warmer temperatures and standardized tests right around the corner. It may be challenging to start thinking about state assessments now, especially when returning to school after a fun winter break. However, it’s never too early to start preparing your child and laying the foundation for success.
Here are 10 tips to assist your child with an easier test-taking experience.
Practice reading questions thoroughly. Many students have a tendency to skip over important details within a test question because they are going too quickly. Have your child practice reading slowly and thoroughly, to help develop this habit prior to the test. Remind them that the test is not a race and it’s important to read questions carefully.
Make sure your child never skips a question. It is better for your child to make their best guess than to leave a question blank. Teach them to eliminate all the answers they know are wrong by drawing a line through them. If they need to come back to a question, they can leave a star or symbol next to it as a reminder, but they should never leave a question unanswered.
Serve a healthy breakfast and facilitate good sleep. It might sound silly but it’s easy to fall into bad habits after the holidays. Help your child get back to a strong routine. Make sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a healthy breakfast throughout the year, especially in the days leading up to the exams. Try to avoid sugary food such as donuts and stick to food which will be a strong source of energy for your child, such as eggs or whole-grain toast.
Help your child continue actively learning on weekends. Plan activities on the weekend that will help stimulate your child’s curiosity. Reading their favorite book, visiting a museum, creating crafts and going to the library are just some of the ways to maintain their learning.
Set aside time for your child to rest. It can be easy for your child to get caught up in a whirlwind of studying and anxiety. Make sure you set aside time each day for them to relax and do something they enjoy.
Practice test questions at home. Try practicing test questions with your child and setting goals for them to achieve during this process. It can be especially helpful to do this if your child is struggling with a particular subject. Your child’s teacher or school library may be a good resource for sample test questions. Remember, the purpose of this is to boost your child’s confidence, so make sure your study sessions are short and not overwhelming.
Always double-check. Teach your child to always double-check their work and answers. It only takes a few extra seconds and can help them catch any mistakes before submitting their test.
Be prepared with the right materials. Make sure your child has all the materials they need for the test (such as pencils, eraser, paper, calculator), so they can feel confident and comfortable. Check with your child’s teacher if you have any questions.
Play educational games. Look for games and programs that will excite your child about learning. This will help maximize their learning capabilities and keep them engaged in preparation for the test.
Stay positive. Don’t put too much pressure on your child. If you are stressed or anxious about the test, chances are your child will be too. Be encouraging and make sure your child knows you believe in them! Celebrate your child’s efforts and accomplishments all year, especially in the days before the test.
After testing, give your children time to reflect on their emotions and experiences. Remember, standardized testing is just a tool to help discover how your child is doing in school. It does not define their academic success and the outcome should only be used to uncover strengths and weaknesses. Encourage your child to set goals based on their results and celebrate each time they achieve one.