Let’s be honest, no one enjoys sitting school tests or exams! However, many schools, (and aspects of life) test us. Although formal testing of any kind can sometimes cause children to feel anxious, it is important to remember that the main reasons why schools test is to determine where a child’s learning gaps are, and where their strengths lie. This is important so teachers can adjust their programme for your children.
Here are our 5 top tips on how you can help your child feel more comfortable completing school tests.
1. Talk to your child about the test
Your child may not have any concerns about taking a school test and in this case, there is no need to constantly discuss it with your child and risk developing the anxiety instead of reducing it. If they do voice concerns validate it and then discuss that as long as they do their best that is all that matters.
2. Expose them to different types of questions
School tests can include different formats including multiple choice, short and long answers or other formats. This may be a new and unfamiliar concept to many children. Your child’s teacher should go through how the test will be presented if it is a new format to them. But you can also support this at home. For multiple choice questions, it is important that they know to only choose one answer that they believe is the correct response to the question. If they do not know the answer, get them to pick which answers they think are the least correct or tell them to have a guess. They may just get it right!
3. Build confidence
Many children can feel overwhelmed when they come to a question that they do not know and it may leave them feeling like the test is too hard for them to continue. Explain that they can skip any tricky questions they do not know and the complete the easier questions first. This will help build confidence that they do know answers, leaving their brains fresh to tackle the harder questions at the end.
4. Underlining the important parts
If your child gets confused about questions and how to answer them, get them to underline the important information in the question. This can make it clearer and easier to answer.
5. Talk to their teacher
It is always a good idea to keep their teacher in the loop about any issues your child may be having at school. Feeling nervous about a school test is something that the teacher can help them with. They can talk to your child about any concerns they may have and keep an eye on them during the test. You can also ask for their feedback on how they coped during the test and if there is anything that you could be doing at home to help them feel more comfortable next time.
Stress and nervousness can hinder your child’s test results but more importantly, it can develop into anxiety. Supporting your child will help them to build confidence in their ability to answer the questions to the best of their ability.