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Overcoming test fatigue
TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015 17:34 PM

Common Core State Standards tests occur in spring, and many students have midterm exams as well. What's more, standardized assessments tend to be long, requiring students to maintain focus and mental clarity throughout the entire testing session. As a result, students may experience test fatigue in which they can't seem to concentrate on the task at hand. Here are some tips for helping your child break through the fatigue, whether he or she is at home or in the middle of an assessment:

Get up and move
Remaining sedentary for long periods of time could cause your child to feel sleepy or unfocused. In fact, according to Medical Billing and Coding, after one minute of sitting, electrical activity in your legs stops. You also burn fewer calories and have poorer circulation. Without proper circulation, your mind starts to slow down. 

Your child should get up and move as often as possible, especially during periods when he or she has a lot of tests. Standardized assessments are timed, so your child won't be able to get up whenever he or she wants. However, encourage your child to walk and stay standing during provided break periods.

Sit up straight
Slouching can also reduce blood circulation, making poor posture a culprit in fatigue. Your child should use good posture when taking exams to help him or her stay focused.

Rethink breakfast
Unhealthy meals can make your child feel more drowsy than usual, which isn't a good thing come test time. Not only that, but carbohydrates also promote sleepiness. This might seem counterintuitive, given that many people eat a grain-rich breakfast. However, your body burns through carbs quickly, resulting in a period when you don't have caloric energy.

Instead of feeding your child cereal on exam day, make sure his or her meal is protein-rich. Eggs are a great option, and you can serve them in a number of ways, from an omelet to scrambled. If you do want to give your child carbs, consider peanut butter spread on whole grain toast, as this meal offers protein as well. Of course, if your child has a peanut allergy, you can always choose almond butter instead.

Schedule down time
While physical factors, such as posture and diet, can impact your child's ability to focus, mental fatigue can occur during testing season as well. Between Common Standards test practice, midterms and other exams, your child may feel overwhelmed. Make sure he or she schedules downtime every day. This could be hanging out with friends, reading a book for fun or playing outside. 

No matter what your child does, he or she shouldn't be thinking about school or tests and should be relaxing.

Drink water
Dehydration can cause you to feel tired, so your child should drink plenty of water. Keeping a water bottle on hand during standardized assessments isn't the best idea, however, as your child might not have the freedom to get up and use the restroom.

Staying hydrated the rest of the day is best.

Don't think about results
Stress can induce testing fatigue, and standardized tests come with pretty high stakes. Remind your child that the score he or she earns doesn't define his or her abilities. It's OK to mess up. Instead, encourage your child to focus on the task and not on the results.