Standardized testing week is one that students often dread. Who can blame them? The week generally involves endless hours of sitting in an uncomfortable desk, taking tests they feel are challenging. This can be stressful for students of any age. Making sure your children are prepared both mentally and physically can help alleviate stress and improve scores.

Test scores offer a snapshot of where students are in their education and how they compare with others in the nation. In order for students to buy in to the process, it is essential to communicate with your children about the importance of standardized tests while avoiding excess pressure. It can be difficult, especially for young kids, to understand the significance of standardized tests. As your children’s schools gear up for testing, try having a family conversation about how important it is for students to take the tests seriously and try their best. Review scores with your children each year so they can see their progress and set goals for the following year. 

Most schools spend time preparing students for standardized tests, but as a parent, you can offer program support as well. There are many affordable, content-related review programs online that build upon students’ enthusiasm towards technology. Study Island is one option for K-12 students. It offers standards-based review through engaging activities, like animations, virtual labs, and educational videos. There is also a program called Laurus Math that is specifically geared towards Arizona high school math review. It offers easy-to-understand lessons, explanations to problems, and practice quizzes. Most textbook publishing companies, such as Prentice Hall and Glencoe, also offer online standardized test preparation practice. More and more interactive options are becoming available to parents each year.

As you help your children study for regular tests throughout the school year, you can emphasize useful test-taking strategies that can be transferred to standardized tests too. For example, be sure to stress the importance of reading directions carefully and asking for clarification when needed. Pacing is also a critical skill. Be sure to let your children know that they do not have to get every single question correct. In fact, it may make sense to skip a question if it is particularly challenging so that they will have time to complete the entire test. Have your children practice the process of elimination with multiple choice questions. With this strategy they should cross out choices that are obviously wrong and make the best choice from the options remaining. Kids can transfer test-taking tips they learn for regular tests to their standardized tests in the spring. 

There are many ways you can help prepare your children for standardized tests. By setting the right tone and getting involved in your kids’ learning, you can actually make them look forward to the usually-dreaded test week at school.