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More Tests = More Anxiety

Q: If the test isn't for months, is there anything parents can do to help their kids get ready?

Staying involved with your child's schoolwork all year will help him be well prepared by the time the test rolls around. And the more prepared he feels, the less anxious he'll get.

You can help a younger child by teaching him basic study skills and habits. Good teachers stress these throughout the school year, but you can reinforce those efforts by providing a quiet, well-lit place for your child to study and by figuring out what time of day is best for him to do his homework. In addition, it's a good idea to check your child's notes to make sure he is writing down key words and also keeping track of the things that the teacher would be likely to point out as most important. With assigned reading, make sure your child pays special attention to the summary sections of each chapter and masters the comprehension questions.

You can help a kid in middle school or higher by teaching him time management, a skill that will become increasingly critical as he gets involved with more after-school activities. This is also a good opportunity to work with your kid on improving his memory; teach him tricks using rhymes, acronyms, and other mnemonic devices. (Visit howtostudy.org for specifics.) Student study groups are quite popular in these grades now, but you need to determine if they are right for your child. Some kids find that peers can help them get through a tough assignment, but other kids get too distracted with their friends around.

Q: If the test is only a week or two away, what then?

You can review the right way to take standardized tests. For example:
- Look over the whole test before beginning. That way, your child can manage her time efficiently. If there's an essay at the end, she'll know that she can't spend too long on the multiple-choice questions.

- Skip tough questions and go back to them. But remind your child not to panic if the first several questions are stumpers. When that happens, it's easy to think the whole test is impossible. But these tests don't progress from easiest to hardest.

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