When we are trying to prepare children for Standardised Tests we often need to do wider preparation than work solely on the expected items within the approaching test.
If we are working on verbal reasoning, for example, we may also need to work on reading, language, listening, vocabulary and comprehension.
Naturally we need to familiarise the children with basic test formats and directions. It may also be useful to be able to teach some test taking strategies for the standardised tests. The format for taking some multiple choice questions can very different from answering short answer questions.
What you are trying to do is ensure, as well as possible, that your child is ready to be able to demonstrate he or she knows `on the day’. You just don’t want your child to be overwhelmed in the examination by an unfamiliar testing situation. Your work with your child should, when possible, be carefully prepared so that you too can demonstrate that what you know `on the day’.
So some suggestions for you to consider:
1. Don’t start talking about on the next question while you are still working on one question. The other questions may be similar – but work one step at a time. This is how you want your child to behave in the test situation.
2. Try to avoid spending too long on one question. If you and your child worry over one question for too long you may be `training’ your child to spend too long on a question in the examination. After you have done some work, and it is not working out, simply say suggest that you and your child leave that question. Use the words: “We can always come back to it later on.”
3. This next point may or may not apply to you or your child. Try to avoid changing an answer unless you are very sure that it should be changed. If your child is used to you changing your mind then don’t spend too long on this aspect of examination technique.
4. Prepare your lesson when you are working with your child. If you know that there are some difficult questions coming up then try to make time to look at the questions before you start working together. Above all you want to appear to be calm and collected. If you suddenly leap up in the middle of a range of difficult questions and feed the dog, put the washing on, answer the phone, sort out an argument and then try to return to the question feeling energised – then you may be setting your child a bad example.