4 Tips Before Your Child Takes a Standardized Test

I have seen many children’s faces this time of year.  For some, the little wrinkles and the pursed lips seem to come out even more than when they get into trouble.   For others, they seem to get a bit more quiet than usual even to the point of being withdrawn.  That’s because standardized testing is right around the corner.  What you’ll find inside are some tips which have worked very well for students of mine over the years.  I hope something you’ll read will work for your child as well!1.  Place your child in as positive a mood as possible.  That might mean fixing the child their favorite breakfast or playing their favorite songs on the way to school.  “The key is to be physically loose and mentally tight.”  This quote from Arthur Ashe was used in my parenting book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures and it works very well here too.  Encourage little things such as smiling by telling childish jokes or giving him/her a little tickle.  Anything you can do to take the physical stress away from the child’s face is a benefit.  Relaxation is the key.

2.  Make up a very small mock test.  This works well if you are a few days outside the test.  It might only have a few questions on it.  You can get questions by looking at a child’s former homework assignment or a test.  Simply by getting a couple of questions right can mean all the difference. You can praise them for getting a right answer or you can help them if he/she happens to miss any question.  This is not implemented to pressure the child.  Instead, it is used most effectively to build up a child’s self confidence.

3.  Encourage confidence within your child.  A child should never go into a test being afraid of failure.  The child has obviously worked all year and should be as ready as any other child.  Only a slim number of children get every question correct.  It’s also well known that some questions were created knowing that it wouldn’t be covered within the core content of the typical child’s grade.  Encourage children to do their best but move on to the next question even if they are not sure as to how they are doing. Also, make sure your child understands that being nervous is natural.  Professional football players often talk about being nervous before a game until they get hit the first time then everything is ok.  You can even relate to your child a time when you were nervous about something and how you worked through it.

4.  Put the test in the proper perspective.  (This last tip relates more to a parent than a child but is very important).  The truth is that most children should be more concerned about a weekly spelling test than a standardized test unless he/she is taking a college entrance exam.  The reason is simple.  A child can fail a spelling test!  Any standardized test only shows a parent where their child stacks academically amongst others at the same grade level.  It is not a pass/fail exam.  The best use of this test is to assess strengths/weaknesses and act accordingly.  It’s pretty counter intuitive to stress out over a test that is merely trying to let a child demonstrate what they know.  As a parent, you can certainly express the importance of a child doing their best but placing additional stress on the child can lead to lower results.  Be careful not to let your own emotions get in the way of your child’s mental well being.

I hope these tips help.  Feel free to leave a comment about any additional tips you’ve used that has shown success.


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