Test on Friday. These words strike fear in most students from first graders to college seniors. They worry that they’ll forget the material they’ve already studied or that they’ll face questions they can’t answer.
There is always some anxiety associated with taking a test, and for some kids, the anxiety can negatively impact their performance. Students may know the material, but through unfamiliarity with the test format, a misunderstanding of the directions, illness or fatigue, they may not perform well. Standardized tests are commonly given on the computer, which many young children treat like a video game, quickly clicking any answer just to make it to the next “level”, while students lacking computer expertise struggle with the technology, lowering their performance.
There are several things parents can do to help a child prepare for tests to reduce anxiety and maximize performance.
Before the Test
– Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep. Don’t stay up late cramming information, but break it down into manageable chunks to be reviewed over a period of time.
– Feed your child a good breakfast in the morning. Proper nutrition helps the brain work more effectively and keeps the child energized.
– Teach your child deep breathing techniques to reduce anxiety. Deep breathing calms the brain, allowing the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus to access learning and memory.
– Ask about the test format. Will it be essay, multiple choice, true/false or short answer? Knowing the format helps determine how to best review and practice the material.