Tips and Tricks for Taking Tests

  • Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep.
  • The high concentration of processed sugar in a child’s typical breakfast, such as a toaster pastry, doughnut, or bowl of cereal, makes your child’s brain groggy and will make paying attention during the day much more difficult. By cutting back on high-sugar carbohydrates and increasing proteins, especially in the morning, your child will avoid the “learning grogginess”. Here are some ways to include sources of protein with your child’s breakfast: peanut butter on toast, melted cheese on bread, hardboiled eggs, cottage cheese mixed with fruit, yogurt that is low in sugar, and milk instead of fruit juice.
  • Have your child wear comfortable clothes.
  • Provide your child with plenty of water. Your child is naturally dehydrated when he wakes up in the morning. This is why it is imperative to have your child drink one glass of water, in addition to his breakfast drink, every morning before school. Remind your child to drink water, even if it is from a water fountain, before a test.
  • Ask if you can send a peppermint for your child. Peppermints are both soothing to nervous tummies and stimulating to the brain.
  • Relax. If your child senses that you are nervous or stressed about his test, he will be too. One way to have your child focus on something different is to talk about a fun activity that you will do as a family after school that day. This will help alleviate some of the pressure from taking tests.

Discuss these test-taking tactics with older children:
  • Make sure you know how much time you have to take the test. Pace yourself as you take the test, just as you would in a long race. Do not work too fast that you start making careless errors, and do not try to keep up with your neighbor's pace. On the other hand, try not to spend too much time on one problem. The best way to efficiently manage your time is to answer easy problems first, then spend more time on the difficult problems.
  • When completing multiple choice problems, eliminate as many wrong answers as you can before choosing your final answer.
  • Do not attempt to answer math computations in your head- always write them out.
  • Check frequently to make sure you are answering the questions in the right spot. This is particularly important for machine-readable papers, such as Scantron sheets.
You might also like my other post Eating and Sleeping Well for School Smarts.