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Teach your children these basic test-taking tips
MONDAY, MARCH 09, 2015 12:33 PM

The Common Core State Standards were developed to prepare children with the proper skills to excel in college and in their future careers. Those skills include things like critical thinking, problem-solving, close reading and the ability to pinpoint key ideas. Part of Common Standards test prep, though, is not only developing these skills, but also knowing how to take a test effectively. If your child has difficulty with tests, his or her score may not be an accurate representation of everything he or she knows. Teachers and parents should help students develop test-taking skills using these tips:

Start early 
Learning how to take a test should start early in the year, and Standards-based practice tests are a great way to accomplish that. Have your child take practice tests early and often to get him or her as comfortable as possible with the testing process. Often, the more a child practices taking exams, the less stressed and anxious he or she feels on test day, and the more he or she is able to concentrate and manage time effectively.

Develop a strategy
In the same way that every child learns differently, a great test-taking strategy for one child may not work as well for another. Work with your children to develop their own strategy for taking tests. Some find that reading the entire test at the beginning then answering the easiest questions first works best. Others prefer to allocate a specific amount of time for each question or section and tackle them in order. Try out different strategies during your Standards test prep throughout the year. 

Practice the basics
Students should learn the basics of test-taking as soon as possible. Help your child with basic skills like the process of elimination and reading instructions carefully before beginning. Children should also learn how to review their answers, pace themselves and manage stress. These fundamental abilities are some of the best indicators for how well a child will do when it comes time for the State Standards.

Get enough sleep and eat up
When it comes to test day, a good night's sleep the previous night is vital to a child's success. Getting a full night's sleep (at least 8 hours) is important for boosting children's energy, concentration and mental recall abilities, according to Harris Health. A healthy, protein-rich breakfast is also essential for setting children up for success. Consider a breakfast with fresh fruit, whole grains and eggs, sausage or another form of protein on the morning of the test.