ELA/Math Test Taking Tips for Parents

April 4, 2016

With the upcoming ELA/Math tests comes the inevitable stress that your kids are not fully prepared to take the exam. You of course hope that the school has fully prepared them for their questions, but what about taking the actual test itself? Worry not! Here are a few easy tips to go over with your child to help mentally prepare them for the exam.



Tip #1 Time Management


One of the best pieces of information to gain from a practice test is how your child works through each of the questions and how they divide their time. One of the new changes to the test this year is the unlimited time they are allotted to take it. This means each student now can take as much time as they need to, so it is no longer necessary for them rush. 


While that works very much in favor of students looking for those extra few minutes, this then creates a new focus on stamina. If your child seems to lose focus or becomes too tired after a certain amount of time, be sure they are not spending to much time on difficult questions as they may no longer have the stamina to zero in on correct answers in later questions.  Each child works through questions differently, so always give advice that benefits their testing style.



Tip #2 Use the Process of Elimination

One of the most daunting characteristics of any standardize test is the number of questions and possible answers presented. One fortunate characteristic of these tests is that there are always a few clearly incorrect answers. If they come across a question that seems too difficult, have them slow down and carefully look through the different choices. There will probably be at least two that are clearly incorrect. This is also helpful in building their confidence in these questions. Sometimes, this can even lead to finding the correct answer in a question they originally had no answer for. 


Tip #3 Have Them Review a Few Math Formulas

It's difficult to find which types of math problems will be the most beneficial to review before the math section, but the formulas are consistent and can be applied to several different math problems. Similar to memorizing definitions, once formulas have been memorized, students can recall these to apply to the specific question types. Correctly working through a formula can be the difference between a completely correct answer and completely missing the question. There are several formulas necessary for students in the different grades to know, but there are formula sheets that can be purchased that are easy to view and look through.


Tip #4 Be Relaxed and Refreshed the Day Before the Test

Cramming before a test is never recommended, and for a good reason! Students work much more efficiently when they've had time to relax and get plenty of rest the night before a test. It may be tempting for them to stay up all night reading last minute math problems and answering ELA questions, but this could lead to a stressed tired child the day of the testing. If you're reading this, you've probably already been preparing your child for these exams and now it's time for them to just mentally prepare themselves for the sitting and taking them. No specific question is going to drastically improve their score, but proper sleep and a focused attitude can certainly be the difference between a few careless mistakes.


Parents should also keep this tip in mind. It's easy to become overwhelmed with worry that your child is not focused or prepared enough for the test, but your confidence is helpful in making your child feel prepared for the test as well. Be sure not to over prepare your child in the coming weeks as this may lead to stress which will adversely impact their performance. Keep a positive attitude parents and good luck to your children on the ELA/Math exams!

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