Written by Cathy Thompson, Founder of Beyond the Classroom In-Home Tutoring
My daughter was recently nervous about an upcoming test at school. She’d been studying for this test for days, but she couldn’t seem to shake the anxiety even though she was prepared. The tension began to rise, and I suggested she take some deep breaths to move into a calmer place. I emphasized that grades aren’t important as long as she did her best. These two things are typically things all of us say to our anxious kids, but they just weren’t working for my daughter this time around.
Just like us adults, kids get stressed, only their stress is often about homework, assignments and tests. Now that we are in the swing of things with a new school year, here are some easy tips to share with your kids that you might not have considered before when it comes to taking tests at school:
Tell Yourself “I Am Excited”
Even if they don’t feel it, I tell them to trick their brain by saying it over and over. We talk about why it’s exciting to be taking this test. In this case it’s because she’ll be able to show the teacher all that she has learned. She’s also excited to get it over with! Research suggests that by telling ourselves we are excited; it changes our brain chemistry that allows us to show up in a different headspace in stressful situations.
Read the Whole Test Over First
This tip I learned the hard way in Grade 5. My teacher told the class to read through the entire test first in order to understand what was on it. I didn’t. I dug right into question 1 and kept writing… my classmates were done, already! The very last line on the page said to only put our names on the test and we were not allowed to do any questions. Wow. That was a lesson. The reason it’s important to read the test over first is not to look out for tricks, but more to get a sense of how to allocate time on questions. It’s also a great way to jog our memory by reading all the information, which can add to responses on all questions.
Write Something Down for Each Question
Teachers love to give part marks. They can often sense what a student is thinking in their responses and will give part marks accordingly. I tell my kids to write something down even if they have no clue what the question is asking and to use information from other parts of the test.
You can even use these tips in your own life. Telling yourself “I am excited” before an important meeting can help you feel great. Taking the time to read documents over in full, whether it be a contract or application, helps ensure you are thoughtful in your responses. Finally, taking a step in a forward direction is like trying for “part marks” – you are making an effort and that’s important.
Cathy Thompson is a RevolutionHer™ Business Member and the Founder of Beyond the Classroom, where highly trained and hand-selected tutors work with families to customize tutoring sessions for their children – providing exactly what the child needs. The sessions take place in the students’ home in order to meet the comfort level of the child and to give parents a much-needed break from the constant shuffling around to activities.