There are lots of things you can do to improve your child's chances of testing success. These strategies will help your child prepare for school tests and promote general study skills that last a lifetime.
Perhaps the most valuable way you can help your child prepare for standardized achievement tests is by providing enriching experiences all year long.
Read aloud with your child--no matter what their age. Reading aloud helps develop vocabulary and fosters a positive attitude toward reading. Reading together is one of the most effective ways you can help your child succeed in school.
Share experiences. Baking cookies together, planting a garden, or making a map of the neighborhood are examples of activities that help build skills that are measured on standardized tests.
Help your child with his or her regular school assignments. Set up a quiet study area for homework. Check your child's homework and offer to help if he or she gets stuck. Be remember, it's your child's homework, not yours. If you help your child too much, your child will not benefit from the activity.
Help your child know what to expect. Read and discuss with your child the information about the test. Simply getting your child comfortable with testing procedures and helping him or her know what to expect can improve test scores.
Provide a good breakfast on test day. Instead of sugary cereal, which provides immediate but not long term energy, have your child eat a breakfast with protein or complex carbohydrates such as an egg, whole grain cereal, or toast.
Promote a good night's sleep. A good night's sleep before the test is essential! Try not to overstress the importance of the test. This may cause your child to lose sleep because of anxiety. Doing some exercise after school and having a quiet evening routine will help your child sleep well the night before the test.
Assure your child that he or she is not expected to know all of the answers on the test. Help your child understand that you expect him or her to put forth a good effort--and that this enough. Avoid threats or bribes. These put undue pressure on children and may interfere with test performance.
Keep the mood light and offer encouragement. To provide a break on test days, do something fun and special after school--take a walk around the neighborhood, play a game, or prepare a special snack together. These activities keep your child's mood light--even if the testing sessions have been difficult. Show your child how much you appreciate his or her efforts.