Successful Test-Taking

Taking tests is a part of school life.  Teaching students how to study for the test will make the experience more successful.  To help your child prepare for any test, you can do several things to provide support and create a positive test-taking experience.  The following are ten testing tips that you may use to help your child prepare for tests and lessen text anxiety.  

Tip 1:  Encourage your child to study actively.  Taking notes, underlining key words, highlighting, and outlining while they are reading will be more effective than skimming passively over the page.

Tip 2: Have your child invent questions that seem likely to appear on the test.  Then have them try to answer their own questions.  This can help point out potential areas of study that need more attention or review.

Tip 3:  Teach your child simple test-taking strategies.  Techniques that help your child focus will benefit them both in times and untimed tests.  The following method is called the STAR test-taking technique:
   Survey the test to see which items can be answered quickly.
   Take time to read the directions carefully.
   Answer the questions you can answer quickly and leave the difficult items for last.
   Reread the questions and your answers making any needed corrections.

Tip 4: Reassure your child that it is acceptable to leave answers blank or give a best guess when they are unsure.  Some children get stuck midway through the test and the entire score suffers.

Tip 5: A good night’s sleep and a full stomach will do wonders for the mind.  Make sure that your child is well-rested and fed on the morning of the test.

Tip 6:  When your child finishes the test, talk to him or her about the parts that went well and those that did not.

Tip 7: When grades come back, work with your child to understand any errors and try to determine why they were made.  Was it because of studying?  Was it a careless mistake?  Was it is a lack of understanding the test format?

Tip 8:  Keep a file of tests and notes to use as resources and study tools for later test events.

Tip 9: Make studying fun!  Studying for a test will not be fun for you and your child if you start too late.  Emphasize to your child that you must be notified as soon as possible about the upcoming test dates.  Mark the test date on the calendar so that you both can plan accordingly.  Use games to vary how you help your child prepare for particular exams.  

Tip 10:  Keep up on healthy study habits.  These good habits will carry with your child through the college years and beyond.  Putting time, effort, and energy into developing these habits is well worth it for both you and your child.
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