How to help your child prepare for regular classromm tests

Schools don’t typically teach children how to study for tests. Some children manage well regardless, but others need step-by-step guidance. Here are some suggestions you can use to help your child prepare for tests, eliminate night-before panics, and lessen test anxiety.

Before The Test

  1. Find out the teacher’s system for scheduling tests. Some tests might be given on a regular basis (example: spelling tests every Friday). Others might be more irregular or incidental(example: social studies tests when a chapter or unit is completed). On the day test is announced (and provided that your child tells you about it), work with your child to plan a study schedule that doesn’t leave everything for the last minute.
  2. Encourage your child to study “actively.” Children who underline key words in the text (if is allowed), take notes, and write outlines while reading are more likely to do well than those who merely let their eyes wander down the page.
  3. Have your child invent questions that seem likely to appear on the test. Then have him try to answer the questions. This will point out areas of study that need more attention and review.
  4. Teach your child the “STAR” test-taking strategy. This is particularly useful for timed tests, although it can also be applied to untimely tests.
    • 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, leaving difficult items for last.
    • Reread the questions and your answers, making any needed corrections.
  5. Reassure your child that it’s okay to leave answers blank or guess answers if he doesn’t know them to can’t figure them out. Some children are reluctant to go on to the next question; they get stuck midway, and their grades suffer as a result. Your child may need to practice this on untimely tests before attempting it on timed tests.
  6. Make sure that your child is well rested and fed on the morning of the test. If time allows, you may want to take him out to breakfast so he will have pleasant associations with the day.

After The Test

    1. Talk to your child about the test. Which parts were easy? Which parts were difficult?
    2. When the graded test is handed back, work with your child to analyze any errors. Try to determine why each errors was made. Was it a careless mistake? Was information omitted when your child was studying for the test? Did he/she forget something covered during the study session?
    3. File the test and any notes or outlines made prior to the test. These can be valuable references and study tools for later cumulative tests.
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