Tips For Parents Who Want To Help Their Children Prepare For Standardized Tests
First, divide the task into two parts: 1. Things to do all year long. 2. Things to do during the few days prior to a big test such as CSAP or TerraNova. 1. Long Term Help Talk to your children from time to time about: The importance of getting a good education, The importance of graduating, The importance of tests (all kinds of tests lie ahead of them for a long time).
Tell your child that the best test preparation strategy is to be knowledgeable; that is, to learn the materials that is to be tested. Be a good student all the time. (Do not wait until the night before a test to try to learn the content for the whole semester.) Find out about your school’s testing schedule; be aware of when important tests are coming up. Do not link the importance of testing (or getting an education) with negative subjects; in other words, do not try to talk about testing at the same time that you are angry or upset about something else. Do not frighten your children about testing, but on the other hand, do not try to comfort them by telling them that tests are not important.
2. Short Term Help (A few days leading up to a major test.) Remind your child that you think the test coming up is important. Ask your child if there is any way you can help him/her prepare for the test. (Do not be put off if you get no response or if your child thinks you are goofy. It may be important for you to make the offer anyway.) Your child could be worrying about some aspect of the approaching test that neither you nor the teacher would ever think about. Encourage your child to question the teacher about anything that may be bothering him/her. If possible, it is best to ask before the day of the test. During the week of the test see that your child gets plenty of sleep. Do not overdo it, but breakfast is a good idea. Most schools test in the morning. If at all possible, try to minimize stressful situations at home prior to test time. Remind your child about the importance of following directions from the teacher and reading directions in the test manual. Test directions are sometimes redundant and frequently boring, but it is easy to commit a fatal error by skipping them.