If your child is overwhelmed with the prospect of an upcoming test, rest assured that there are ways to not only calm their fears, but also boost their confidence and ability to concentrate. With a good strategy in place to practice mindfulness and the subject matter together before any upcoming tests, your child will be able to go into their test with their best foot forward.
For more practice at home, workbooks are a wonderful resource to sharpen the skills your child learns in class. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes tests won't always go according to plan, and when that happens, encourage them by having a conversation about failure and how it is merely an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, practice more, and to do better in the future.
Use these strategies to help make the process more manageable:
Help your child map out a test-taking study schedule. The focus here should always be on the content and cementing their knowledge around a topic, so utilizing a schedule to study for an upcoming test — such as half an hour or an hour a day leading up to test day — can make all the difference without leaving your child feeling overwhelmed.
Determine what kinds of questions will be on the test. The options are short-answer, multiple-choice, essay, or a combination of the three. This allows your child to study the subject matter from different angles and teaches them to practice their writing and how to back up their answers/show their work.
Ask your child what they think is going to be on the test. Then look at their class notes together and the parts of the textbook that deal with those particular topics and issues. Ask your child what pages the teacher stressed, and whether there are any maps, charts, or extra reading they need to know. If the teacher provided study questions, go over them carefully, and help your child write down answers and key pieces of information so they can review them later.
Have brain breaks. This is important because mental overwhelm can have the opposite effect on your child, which will then lead to them absorbing less information. Practice short but effective brain breaks that incorporate fun and physical movement. For example, you can take a dance break to their favorite music, do some stretches, etc.
Remember test-taking basics. One tip for helping your child organize and remember information is to follow the five W's: who, what, when, where, and why. Thinking of this information, you can then turn it into a storytelling game that your child can then "teach" you, which will help them retain more information.
Practice test-taking skills. It's best for your child to read the test all the way through, answer the questions they know well first, and return to the questions they're unsure of later. The goal is to not only reinforce knowledge and understanding, but to build your child's confidence and help lay the groundwork for a lifetime of good study skills.
Follow up with test taking. Compliment your child for working with you and putting in the time to prepare for their exam. Communicate with their teacher and encourage them to do the same on their own if they need any extra support, or if there are any new ways to tackle studying that work best for your child, or to simply get answers to any questions your child might have before and after the exam.
Get ready for your child to go back to school with our guide — it's full of recommended books, teacher tips, homework help, and more resources for a successful school year.
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