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Test Anxiety & Test Taking Skills

Spring is a season of new beginnings. A time we emerge from the winter blahs and begin new adventures. Spring is also the season for Standardized Tests in many schools. With that comes the time for evaluation on how your child is progressing and what they have learned
within their school year.

It can also be the time many students, parents and teachers alike feel the pressures of these tests. It is important to remember that these tests are used as a gauge and a guideline to measure students’mastery of curriculum content, instructional practice, and to help students
who need additional resources find the areas where they can be best served.
Because these tests are so important the stress level around them rises and with that the potential for test anxiety. Teachers work very diligently all year to help familiarize students
with these formats and sample questions in preparation for these standardized tests. Test
anxiety can surface within a child not just for the standardized tests but any test they may
take. But there are several things that you, as a parent, can do at home to help
your child succeed and to relieve the stress of an upcoming test.

Here are some things you can practice throughout the year...
Whether its working on homework, studying for a content quiz, or working through a testing workbook, practicing and
becoming familiar with various ways to read and understand a question and its format will only increase the student’s comfort when they encounter that type of question. 
There are several ways your child can become familiar with the testing format...
Practice time limits. Each section of a test is timed. This in itself can cause
nervousness and anxiety. But if the students are used to time limits either
for homework, TV and video games, or testing, the limits become more
comfortable to handle.
Stay calm about studying and testing. Your child can sense if you are nervous
or anxious and will model that behavior.
Anxious adults = anxious students.
Practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing for the situations where the child does get nervous. There will be anxious moments
and times where despite all the best efforts of teachers and parents, children will be nervous. By teaching them ways to handle the stress
it enables them to calm themselves down. 

Have the child: 
•   Close their eyes for a moment
•   Take a deep breath in through their nose and slowly exhale. Repeat this several times.
     By exhaling slowly and controlled your body responds by relaxing
•   Roll their shoulders from front to back thus relieving tension in their muscles
•   Imagine themselves in a moment of success where they felt confident
•   Smile
Here are some things you can do in the days leading up to the test...