Testing Tips

by Benita Howell

Making A Stress-Free Test Day

Homeschool testing need not be stressful–for parent OR for child. This excerpt taken from the Virginia Homeschool Manual offers simple advice for keeping things going smoothly.

For Child

1.  Drink plenty of water.

2.  Read all test directions carefully. The testing administrator will go over the directions, usually reading two samples aloud.

3. Look for clue words. Several answers may be good, but which one is best? Watch for the words “always” or “never.”

4. Think of an answer before you read the choices. Then read the choices carefully, weeding out the obviously wrong answers.

5. Test the answer by adding it to the question and reading it as a statement.

6. Don’t spend too much time on one item. Move on!

7. Go back to questions you weren’t sure about and narrow down the answers to make a logical guess. Don’t leave an answer blank on the answer sheet. This avoids the possibility of mismarking the next answers by putting the right answer in the wrong box.

8. Only mark one answer bubble per question or it will be counted as wrong. Fully erase errors and stray marks.

9. Try each answer in the blank to help you decide which one sounds right.

10.During the “Reading Comprehension” test, read the questions first, then read the reading passage.

For Mom

1. Make sure your child is well-fed and well-rested on the testing day.

2. Your child shouldn’t have a full stomach because the brain needs the fresh and abundant supply of blood which might be helping to digest the stomach’s overload of food.

3. Build feelings of confidence in your child rather than anxiety. You need to stay calm about the test so your child will be calm.

4. Practice the test format beforehand by writing out spelling words in groups of four and asking your child to find the one word that is spelled incorrectly.

5. Write a letter to your child, then tell him or her to insert correct punctuation and capitalization; then review it together.

6. When talking with your child use interesting vocabulary words. For example, say aquarium rather than fish tank, or gigantic rather than big.

7. Review how to use a table of contents, an index, an encyclopedia, an almanac, an atlas, a library card catalog, and a dictionary. Review reading and using maps, charts, and graphs.

8. Throughout every academic year, time your child’s math so that he learns to work accurately and efficiently within time limits. Do the same with reading selections and comprehension questions.

* You may want to purchase the book, How to Get Better Test Scores on Elementary School Standardized Tests, published by Random House. It contains many helpful suggestions and practical ideas. It also includes practice tests.

Note: Contact your local support group for further information. Most groups will be able to direct you to testing resources in your area. Many support groups make special arrangements for members of their own group to be tested together.