Test Taking Tips for Parents
How to Prepare Your Child for the Test
From Evolved Education
A parent’s role is to ensure that a child is thriving and preparing for and taking a standardized test does not replace that important job. One of the most important conversations we have with our parents is educating them about the test. Become informed about the test your child will take (Format, Logistics) and how to best support learning at home is key for successful students.
In addition to the services, assessments, and simulated tests Evolved Education creates for our students and families, there are many other resources available for parents. If your child has a 504 or IEP, be sure to let the testing facility know and then prepare your child accordingly. It’s important to ensure that no one has any surprises on the day of the test.
Make Skill Building Part of Your Daily Routine
Children are constantly learning from everything and everyone around them. With our younger students – three-to-five year olds- it is a steady stream of “how” and “why” questions. Use this natural curiosity and your responses to them as part of your daily routine, to support your child’s skills that are needed for these first tests.
When we prepare the children for these early tests, there are three important aspects to the test prep: content knowledge, test taking skills, and a cognitive flexibility to focus on a range of types of questions. Underlying all of this is the stamina to sit and work on the material.
With just a little extra thought, you will be building on your child’s natural sense of learning and questioning- and filing your child up with the skills that are part of these early tests. “Test prep” then becomes easy, because learning is engaging and a wonderful part of your child’s everyday life with you and other people and experiences.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- When you take a walk or play with toys- categories of information are all around you.
- Before you go out for the day, or when you are going to do something together in the apartment, talk about what you are going to do “first”, “second” and “third”. Have your child repeat the “plan” to you and ask your child as you complete one part of the plan, what is next? Not only are you reinforcing these positional terms, you are supporting your child’s memory and recall strengths
- For example when you see a bus, a car and a train- beyond identifying them individually, classify them as “transportation” in your conversation. When you see a dog, have your child name 3 or 4 “animals”. Try examples of categories such as: things that fly, cold things, things you wear, etc. Building toward higher level categorical information is an important skill.
Allow your child to take the lead with regard to their standardized test preparation experience. A child’s standardized test experience should be characteristic of his or her whole academic experience. While it sounds silly, children in Pre-K are able to show their comfort level and gain the skills needed to walk away from you during testing. One of our favorite stories is the child who walked into the G&T Test for Kindergarten and said his name was Batman. While his mother made sure the proctors knew who he was, he was calm and prepared.
Feelings Matter – Even Yours! –
- Pay close attention to how you are feeling about the standardized test. If you are anxious and worried about the test, your child may be as well. Check in with your child about how he or she is feeling about the test.
- Work closely with your child’s teacher and tutors to help as needed with feelings of anxiety or ambivalence.
- Over preparing or under preparing a child for a test may translate into unsuccessful results and/or undesired outcomes for a child. How your child feels about a test or during the testing period matters.
- If your child is experiencing social stress or emotional issues, he or she may not perform at his or her best.
Be Prepared. Plan – Before – During- and After the Test
Before the test, engage your child in a discussion around the days leading up to the test and have your child jot down notes with their response. Ask your child questions such as:”How will the days leading up to the test feel and what might this look like? What can you do to feel prepared, stay busy, and keep calm? What can we (mom and dad) do to help support you in the days leading up to the test?”
Create a “During the test plan.”Engage your child in a discussion around visualizing what it will feel and look like to walk in the testing room and how to cope. Have your child write down the plan and any other thoughts. Ask your child, “How might it feel when you walk into the testing room and sit down to take that test? Can you explain what that will look like in detail? How will you cope with nerves in those moments?
Have a plan for after the test: Engage your child in a discussion around the experience after having completed the test. How might your child feel? What if it feels like things went well? What if things feel like they did not go well? Create a plan of how to manage nerves around this and how to keep busy while waiting for the results.
Tests are stressful! It will be important to work on coping skills ahead of the test by engaging in discussions about the child’s feelings, hopes, and concerns and plans of action to help the child feel more grounded and safer.
Discuss A Testing Strategy
How will your child tackle the test? What are they thinking? What is their approach? One suggestion is to use Evolved’s 3-Tier Approach to Test-Taking:
● STEP 1: Read through the shorter questions first and ONLY answer items that you are 90-100% confident in knowing the correct answer.
● STEP 2: Read through the longer questions (lengthier text and steps) and ONLY answer items that you are 90-100% confident in knowing the correct answer.
● STEP 3: Go back to the start and complete all of the remaining unanswered questions that you felt less confident in knowing the correct answer.
At Evolved Education, our team of teachers and specialists are ready to help your student and your family better understand what skills they need to be prepared. If you would like to discuss how our team can help your family, please fill out our Student Profile so that we can better understand your child’s current needs!