Test Prep Strategies for Elementary-Middle School Kids

Taking tests can be scary. For American children, regular tests are about as common as standardized tests, but there are some tips and tricks that may help kids learn how to study and perform better on both. After all, tests are a lot less scary if you’re prepared.

Build Confidence

Test time can be panic-inducing for some kids, and others may choose to stay in denial until the night before when they finally decide to cram. The key to performing well on a test is preparation, but it also helps to be relaxed. Even kids who studied non-stop may perform poorly because they were too distracted by their own nervousness to focus properly. Sure, the idea of test-taking and the grade that follows is a difficult one to swallow, especially since the American school system places a lot of value in these numbers and statistics. This is where parents need to remind their child of their strengths. A test is not the end of the world, whether they fail or pass. However, if a child believes they are not good at a particular subject, no amount of studying may help them perform better. Remember to encourage your child to do well, but not to pile on the pressure. Every kid is different, but a little bit of cool confidence can go a long way.

Pacing Can Make it Interesting

If your child is preparing for a test, studying is key. But the idea of sitting down and reading over notes and textbooks can seem boring and tedious. You can try to instill small study sessions periodically throughout the week to help kids remain familiar with the test material without asking them to sit down for hours on end just before the day of the test in hopes of remembering it all. Learning things and reinforcing ideas little by little allow kids to build on previously learned information more effectively, which also makes it much easier to remember. You can incorporate reading, reviewing, or even study-based games throughout the unit or lesson to help keep kids engaged with their school work. As a parent, you may not exactly know what your child is learning in school, but it helps to ask. Make it part of the conversation, or have them teach you. There are many fun ways you can turn studying into learning and the process may not seem as daunting.

Tips and Tricks

Subject material aside, there are some good test-taking skills that could help no matter what a given test happens to be about. Try and share some tips with your kids to help them feel more confident in their general test-taking abilities:

  • -Remember to read all directions thoroughly before beginning the test or beginning to tackle a question.
  • -Skip questions that you don’t know the answer to or are taking you too long to figure out. Finish the questions you know first and come back to the others later. This will give you time to return to the question with fresh eyes, and you may have a better idea of what the answer is by coming back to it later after finishing other questions.
  • -Highlight or underline keywords in short answer questions that follow long passages, it could help you find your answer quicker once you get the appropriate section. Reading the questions before reading the passage can help, too.
  • -Read through all choices when answering multiple choice questions. Try to eliminate as many answers as you can if you get stuck.
  • -If you have time, go back and check your answers.
  • -Don’t forget to utilize scrap paper or the margins of tests (where allowed) to work out your thoughts and reasoning if you need to.

There are plenty of other ways that you can help your child with test prep, but the main thing is that they feel confident in their abilities. Having the right tools and the proper mindset are almost as important as being familiar with the subject material, but the most important thing is that they do their best.