Standardized Tests: Dreaded Adversary or Fun Challenge?
By Jeannette Webb
There is little in the life of a competitive high school student that can dredge up as much fear as the standardized testing cycle. It seems that so much is riding on the performance of a few hours. However, there are things a student can do to minimize stress and learn to enjoy the process.
Go Into Training
Athletes fully understand the importance of conditioning to build up endurance, proper nutrition so the body performs at optimal levels, and adequate sleep so the mind is clear and muscles ready for action. Crucial standardized tests deserve the same attention.
1. Conditioning – Taking multiple practice runs of each and every test (and carefully evaluating them) build up endurance for those long 4-hour tests. Taking the practice test at the same time of day and under the same conditions trains the body to be awake and alert come test day.
2. Nutrition – Eating in a healthy manner allows the body to be fully functioning in the weeks leading up to and on test day. Eat protein the morning of the test for a stable insulin release during the examination. No soft drinks or candy as they cause sugar spikes and then energy crashes.
3. Sleep – Clear your schedule around important tests and get plenty of sleep in the weeks before. Don’t jeopardize your college career by being sleep-deprived on test day.
Know the Rules
Any athlete knows the rules of the game before he steps onto the field or court. Taking tests should be the same way. By taking practice exams, knowing how long you have per question, knowing the instructions, and understanding each section implicitly, students can relax and focus on moving quickly through the test, not getting stuck reading and re-reading instructions out of nervousness.
Learn to Relax
The biggest challenge to an athlete or performer of any kind is the psychological games that go on in the mind. Learning how to be tough mentally is the thing that separates the exceptional athletes from the mediocre ones. Good athletes know how to relax and focus on the task at hand rather than get psyched out by unexpected circumstances or other athletes that talk a good story. They view everything as a challenge, not a crisis.
It’s true. Standardized tests are very important for your child’s future. However, there are many things your child can do to improve their performance. If your student would be interested in learning how to maximize their standardized test results, check out our class: Ace Tips for Making Standardized Tests Work for You!
If you have a high school student preparing for SAT, ACT, AP, or SAT Subject tests this year, you need to check out this class! Learn more here.