Testing Season: Advice for Parents and Students

March is an exciting month for many reasons. The sweet smells of spring fill the air, baseball players ready themselves for a new season, and standardized testing ramps into high gear. 

Okay, maybe one of those things doesn’t seem that exciting. But this can be a thrilling time for both students and parents. These tests mark the beginning of the college (or private school, in the case of the ERB and ISEE) experience, one of the most incredible times of growth a student will experience in their lives, and a bittersweet moment for parents as they meet the incredible young adult they have raised.

But the student has to get there first. Here are what parents and students can do to get past the stress and trauma, and get into the excitement that this point can offer. 

Parents:

Find a Clean Study Space 

There are many studies that have confirmed that replicating the conditions of the test in the study space leads to better scores. Obviously, you’re not going to invite 30 other teenagers into your home and let them study there, but having a quiet, organized space away from the hustle and bustle of the home can make as huge difference in both scores and test-related anxiety. For more tips on how to create a good study spot, check out our article from last month.

Be Firm, But Supportive

Students don’t need a drill sergeant as they prepare for the test, forcing them to do work against their will. But they also don’t need a friend trying to distract them. Their friends at school will already be doing that. 

This is admittedly a difficult line to walk. It’s important to be firm in limiting screen time and other distractions before and during study time. But after the study block, be supportive and kind. Let them know that you see how hard they are working, and that you’re proud of them for handling this stressful time with the maturity you have seen bloom.

Don’t Be Afraid of Help

What’s one way to walk that fine line between support and firmness? Get someone to help you! Here at the Ladder Method, our standardized testing services enrich the student’s studying process by remediating the basic skills that lead to success on the different sections, as well as focusing on the mindset and self-esteem of the student. Letting a tutoring service like The Ladder Method handle the more academic parts of the process leaves you free to support you child.

Students:

The Earlier the Better

Studying the night before a regular school exam isn’t a great idea. It doesn’t leave your brain with enough time to repeat and retain the information, and leads to anxiety and stress. These tests are more extensive than school quizzes: therefore, studying should start even earlier.

Your studying process should start at least two months before your test date. This gives you ample time to review the basics, study the format of the test, and practice replicating the time and environment during your practice test. It also allows you retain your social life and regular work. Life doesn’t have to stop as you prepare for these exams, so long as you get an early start.

Take Care of Yourself

Obviously, you’re going to need to carve out long periods of time to sit down and study, or take a practice test. But make sure you build self-care into those long blocks. Take a defined study break. Good study breaks involve movement, as motion helps get the brain engaged. 

It’s also important to make time for a healthy dinner and snack. Food plays an incredibly important rule in avoiding test anxiety. Eating the right types of food is one of the most important choices you and your family can make in supporting your test preparation. 

Don’t Be Afraid of Help

As we mentioned above, The Ladder Method’s Test Preparation curriculum is specifically designed to minimize the stress that too often seems implicit in the standardized testing process. If you feel like you want or need someone to help support you through the process, a tutoring service can be extremely helpful. 

But aside from a tutoring service, just know that you’re not going through this alone. Your parents are here for you, your teachers are here for you, your tutors are here for you, and your friends are here for you. There is no shame or weakness in taking advantage of the resources at your disposal to ace these tests. You got this!