Every student faces the occasional challenge of preparing for an important examination, but tests don’t have to cause feelings of apprehension. Help your child avoid anxiety before and during a test by following these tips:
- Be prepared. “You will not be anxious if you have prepared yourself with the strategies and basic skills for the test,” says Dr. Gary Gruber, leading expert on test-taking and author of over 35 books, including Gruber's Essential Guide to Test Taking: Grades 3-5. “Get involved with the test. Instead of fixating on just getting the right answer, try to extract something from the question that you can get a handle on or know. That will lead you to the next step and then to a solution.”
- Sweet dreams. A good night’s sleep before a test will help ensure that your child is well-rested and mentally equipped to handle the challenges of an examination. Encourage your child to relax and unwind at bedtime to avoid sleeplessness.
- Fuel for school. On the morning of a test, a healthy, balanced breakfast of whole grains, fruit, and protein is vastly superior to skipping breakfast or settling for a quick, sugar-filled snack. The ideal time frame for breakfast is one to two hours prior to the test, Gruber says.
- Avoid cramming. “Cramming is not usually a good idea,” Gruber says. “It is better to internalize strategies and skills.” He instead recommends consistent practice and study prior to an exam. “Treat the exam [as] a challenge and get involved with the process of problem-solving. By going through the thinking process, you'll get the answer.”
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