An Easy Test-Taking Guide for Parents to Help Their Children
Taking tests can be one of the most stressful things about being a student. Whether your child is taking their first quiz or prepping for the SAT, there are several things you can do to help them prepare for exams.
Moreover, studies have found a strong connection between children’s performances on tests and parental involvement. When parents are involved, kids feel more confident about their abilities. They also understand the importance of doing well academically and that they have support if they are struggling.
The following are some practical ways that help your child excel on exams this school year.
Test-prep strategies for kids
Before taking a test, there are several test-prep steps that can benefit your child. These steps aim to improve their readiness, focus, and overall performance. The following are some of our favorites that you can use with your children.
Establish a routine
It really is easier to retain information when you take time to study at a regular pace. Rather than trying to cram a lot of material into your head the day before a test, establish a study routine with your child. Set aside some time each school night for your child to review the material covered in classes that day. The repetition of going over the material each night will help your child learn better.
Create the right study space
Set aside a quiet space where your child can study – this could be a desk in the child’s room or even the kitchen table. Help them organize all needed materials and stationary so they have everything they need at their fingertips. Creating a well-structured and distraction-free study environment will not only enhance your child’s focus, but also foster a sense of responsibility and discipline.
Another strategy to help your child get the most from their study time is to identify and reduce distractions. If your child has a phone or tablet, have them put it away and out of reach. It’s also best to turn the sound off so the ringing won’t disrupt your child. Turn off notifications and close down any open tabs and social media accounts if your child is working on a computer during study. It’s also important that any other family members leave your child alone and don’t interrupt them while they are working.
Encourage your child to take breaks often as this allows their mind to absorb the information they’ve reviewed better. A good practice is to stop studying after 15 or 20 minutes and get up and move around. Your child can grab a glass of water or a small snack to refuel. It’s also a good idea to take a 5- or 10-minute break when your child is switching subjects. This gives the brain a chance to refresh and get ready for the next topic.
Test-taking strategies for children
When it comes to actually taking a test, there are several things your child could do to help them reach a better score. The following are a few of our favorites.
Before your child sits down to study for an exam, talk with them about how best to utilize their time. There are some different stress anxiety strategies to time management, but they all emphasize taking breaks and focusing on one subject at a time. Encourage kids to get up from their desks or study space occasionally and take a walk or stretch for a pre-arranged break. This helps give the brain a rest and also keeps the energy flowing during study sessions.
Read instructions carefully
This is one of our favorite test-taking skills, because it’s so simple. As we should all know that when taking a test of any kind, it’s important to carefully read the instructions. However, some children are affected by test-taking anxiety and may forget to slow down and read the test directions. If you notice your child rushing through exams and their scores not reflecting their speedy responses, make sure to encourage your child to slowly read the instructions and not to fear asking questions.
Kids should understand that they don’t need to answer each question before moving on to the next one. In a test setting, students can jump around and answer the questions they know right away, then go back to tackle ones they may need more time to solve. Discuss with your child the idea of prioritizing questions, paying special attention if some are worth more marks than others. This is a particularly important test-taking skill when the exam is being timed.
Taking educated guesses
Sometimes, when students are unsure about the right answer to a multiple-choice test question, they should employ a strategy called educated guessing. This technique can be super helpful in increasing their chances of picking the correct answer, especially when they can cross out obviously wrong choices or find hints in the question itself. By using both careful thinking and educated guessing, students make wiser decisions when making an answer.
Promote a growth mindset
A growth mindset is a test anxiety strategy that emphases the idea that a person can enhance their skills and abilities with hard work and determination. The benefits of promoting this mindset to your kids is they will develop a good work ethic and a love of learning. Moreover, they will continue to grow and find new interests and seek out valuable information their whole lives, keeping their minds active.
Reducing test-taking anxiety
No matter how much studying and preparation has been done, test day can feel daunting. There are some good strategies that you can take to help reduce test-day anxiety in your kids, and the following are some great steps to help you reduce your child’s test-taking anxiety.
Provide praise and motivation
School, study, and exams can start to feel overwhelming for kids. That’s where you need to be ready with encouragement and praise. Acknowledge their hard work and the effort they are putting into their studies. Remind them of their successes. And sometimes, provide a little motivation to keep them going. This could be a treat or reward that they earn when they put in the hard work to prepare for exams.
Have open communication
Let your child know that you are always willing to listen to their concerns and help them overcome any problems they’re facing. If they are experiencing anxiety over an upcoming exam, listen to their feelings and don’t dismiss them. Your child wants to know that you understand and respect them. Even if their concerns don’t seem important to you, be sure to use empathetic listening. You can do this by repeating what you think they are saying. This allows them to clear up any confusion and to feel like you empathize with their situation.
Help your child identify and express their emotions
Sometimes, your child may feel upset but not able to put into words what they are thinking or feeling. It can be helpful for you both if you’re able to identify their emotions and talk with them about where their concerns are coming from. Some thoughts that cause anxiety are not based on reality, and you can help your child see this if you discuss it.
Try Relaxation techniques
Teach your child some relaxation techniques they can use to overcome anxious feelings. There are some tips they can use even while they write the exam, such as
- Deep breathing – these exercises help your child relax by reminding them to slow down and take deep breaths. People who are feeling anxious or stressed often take shallow breaths and this technique can calm your child so they can do their best on the test.
- Visualization – with this technique, your child can escape the feelings of anxiety by imagining a calm place or a happy memory they have. Teach your child when they are stressed so that they can close their eyes and visualize themselves in their calm place. This can help them overcome those feelings of tension.
Pass along positivity
Reassure your child that they are up for the challenge of a test, and remind them of their past successes, all of which will boost their self-confidence and positive mindset. It will also equip them with the faith that they can face whatever school – and life – have for them.
Prepare for tests: How a tutor can help
Helping your child prepare for tests and school exams with these excellent test-taking skills is not something you need to do alone. At School Is Easy, we have tutors that are experts in various subjects and who can help your child review school material and get ready for any level of testing they need to complete.
Contact us to find out more and let us find the right tutor for your child.