5 Surefire Ways to Help Your Child Master Standardized Test Anxiety
Whether it’s the SAT or a grade school state assessment test, standardized tests can do a lot to determine your child’s academic future. This makes parents understandably edgy, and even young children can pick up on that anxiety. Here are five tips that will help you keep your child calm and confident for the big test day.
Explain What Will Happen
In age appropriate terms, let your child know that they will be taking a test. Explain why they are taking it, and what will happen with the results. Even young children can take testing seriously when it explained to them as an important activity. Reassure them that the great thing about standardized test is that you know exactly what they will be tested on, and you can help them prepare so they are 100% ready to ace it.
Diagnose Strengths and Weaknesses
Most tests do reflect skills children should have already learned in school. But don’t assume that they know everything. Your child needs to go over each skill that will be tested separately, and shore up any weak points. They’ll also have strengths to build on; finding question types or content areas that are already easy is a great way to build confidence. A good tutor is an extremely helpful resource at this point - tutors can quickly pinpoint your child’s strengths and weaknesses and start in on skill building right away.
Once you know the areas your child needs to work on, zone in and have her work on those. This can be a stressful time for students and parents, as the work can be frustrating. A great tutor has experience with lots of different learning styles and materials and can smooth the process along for your child. They can also provide practice material that is targeted to address your child’s specific needs.
Practice in Test Like Conditions
The company or state body that gives the test usually has at least some preparation materials available for free, or a tutor can provide and proctor a practice test. Just like on the big day, make sure your child is physically comfortable for this practice – ideally your child should eat a light meal, be well rested and dressed in comfortable clothes.
Use Anxiety to Fuel Achievement
Studies have shown that test takers can use anxiety to help them stay focused and energized. Share that idea with your child before their test date. Talk about what they might do in stressful situations – what if she forgets a formula? What if she gets tired? What if she has to go to the bathroom? Talk through those solutions so your child feels confident that they are ready for anything. A tutor can also help guide these conversations and share wisdom from past experiences with testing.
With these tips, your child will feel relaxed and energized going into their standardized test. They’ll have a significant advantage over students who are unprepared and distracted by anxiety and it will show in their scores. If your child is young, all the more reason to make sure they get the right training early – they’ll only see more tests as they go through school system, culminating in the SAT or ACT which is so important in college applications Make sure they are comfortable with testing from early on, and they’ll reap the benefits throughout their education.
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