Testing tips to help students succeed

Partners Post, April 2015

Stressed Out StudentStandardized tests can be stressful for students, parents, and educators. Parents and other caring adults can employ strategies to help make test-taking less stressful for students:

Provide opportunities to share concerns: High-stakes tests cause many students anxiety not because they aren't prepared, but because they are afraid of disappointing their parents and teachers.

Discuss the exam and put it in perspective: Explain to students that the tests will challenge them but to stay calm and do the best they can. Discuss why the exam is given and review test-taking strategies.

Teach and practice relaxation techniques: Teaching children deep breathing and positive visualization techniques can help them relax when testing anxiety arises.

Write about it: Ask students to write or keep a journal about their feelings as they prepare for testing.

Act it out: Have students act out their stress by role-playing, creating comic strips, or writing songs.

Get a good night's sleep before test day: Studies show that well-rested students perform better on exams. Exercise or go for a walk after dinner, avoid television, videogames, and other distractions, and get to bed on time.

Fuel up with good food and stay hydrated: Hunger is distracting and slows our ability to think. Healthy breakfasts and snacks should be available before any high-stakes tests.

Stretch: Brain research shows that it is important to keep blood flowing freely throughout your body if you want the brain to stay sharp.

Remind students to listen and pace themselves: Prepare students to listen carefully to directions and to ask questions. Encourage them to be aware of time, pace themselves, and review the test before handing it in to be sure all the answers are completed.

Have fun: Before and after tests, have a little fun with your children to break up the stress.



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