Best the Test: 3 Tips to Prep for Success

How do you prepare your child for a test they can’t study for? Tests like the PSAT, GATE/TAG, NMSQT, and others are created to measure a child's ability to understand and process elements of reading, writing, and mathematics. There is no real way to study for these tests. That being said, there are ways to prepare for them. 

1. Encourage Healthy Habits and Reading

The first few things you can start doing right now to help prepare your kids are encouraging exercise, a balanced diet, appropriate hydration, sleep, and reading. Check out the following blogs we have created to help you along. 

Health and Wellness

Reading and Literacy 

2. Set Expectations 

Another way to prepare your child for these tests is to set their expectations for this unusual event. Tests like the PSAT, GATE/TAG, and NMSQT are not something students do regularly. The more you can familiarize them with the process the more prepared and confident they will feel.

Find out when and where the test will be, how long it will take, and what needs to be brought for the test. Try to find out what format the questions will be in, how many there will be, how long the test is, and if there are any scheduled breaks. If your child needs any accommodations, find out what is available for them beforehand.

Once you have all this information, talk to your child about what to expect during this test—where will they be, who will be giving the test, how long will it be, whether they need to write out answers or fill in a bubble sheet.

3. Help Develop Test-Taking Skills

For younger kids, focus on brain games and puzzles outside of school. Keep these fun and playful, and rotate what you work on. If your child has homework to do outside of school, ask them to explain their work to you as they do it. Teaching you will help reinforce what they are learning and prompt them to think about it from a different perspective.

Challenge your child with listening and focusing practice. Use a fun timer to see how long they can focus or read their homework and have them answer you verbally before writing the answer down. Small rewards like stickers or parts of a stationary pack (or whatever your kid loves!) will go a long way to motivate them.

For older kids, continue encouraging them to teach you what they learned in school. Ask questions and help them find the answers if they don’t know. Include your older kids in making decisions that directly impact them and walk them through the choices. 

Finally, never cram for these tests, and make sure your child eats a good meal, exercises, has fun and gets a good night's sleep the night before the exam. Once it’s all over, celebrate!