The end of the school year means field trips, school carnivals, and standardized tests. While most end-of-the-year activities are fun and exciting, the standardized tests bring stress and anxiety to so many students and parents. You can help ease the anxiety by preparing your child before taking the test and supporting them after they finish.
Help with homework.
Slow and steady wins the race! Prepare all year by ensuring your child is grasping the concepts they are learning. Help with homework, and note areas your child may be struggling. Communicate these concerns with their teacher, and help your child get what they need to be successful.
Read together daily; it has enormous benefits! Not only will it expand your child’s knowledge and vocabulary, but you can practice reading comprehension by talking about what they read and asking open-ended questions.
Talk about the test.
Don’t let a standardized test come as a surprise. Talk about the test and its purpose. Explain its importance while also reminding your child that it is only one way they can show what they know. Don’t stress about it too much, and be sure to instill confidence in them.
Practice test-taking and relaxation strategies.
Test-taking strategies always come in handy. Explain to your child if they don’t know an answer, it is okay to skip it and come back to it. If the question is multiple choice, cross-out the answers they know are wrong first. Always go with their initial answer. Research shows, the majority of the time, when an answer is changed, it is changed to an incorrect response. Breathing and relaxation techniques are also beneficial before and during the test.
Clear their schedule for test week.
Your child needs time to study and prepare. Make sure test week is clear of appointments and other obligations that could add to an already-stressful week.
Confirm accommodations with their teacher.
If your child is on an IEP, 504, or other education assistance plan, confirm the game plan with their teacher to ensure your child is getting the accommodations they need to succeed. Inform your child of the plan so they know what to expect.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Go to bed early, and make sure your child gets a full night’s rest. If your child is too tired, they will have trouble focusing on the standardized test.
When morning comes, start your morning routine a few minutes earlier than normal. This ensures there will be no rushing around, gives your child time to relax and eat, and allows you the opportunity to build them up during breakfast. Eating a good breakfast will fuel your child for test day and keep them focused on the test and not their growling bellies. Studies show that the best breakfast before a standardized test is rich in carbohydrates and protein, think eggs, rolled oats topped with fruit, and eggs.
They did it! No matter what the score is, your child just sat through hours of testing—that alone is something to celebrate! Go out for ice cream, order a pizza, have a movie night, or let them pick how they want to celebrate.
Remember, a standardized test is not the end all be all to your child’s education. With your support and involvement, your child’s future will be bright beyond this test and its results!