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Test Taking Tips For Elementary Students

While many elementary students won’t take exams that will determine their futures in the way an SAT or ACT might, they are still faced with many standardized tests. The way a child approaches these test can either create confidence or foster anxiety. These test taking tips for elementary students and parents can help set everyone up for a lifetime of test taking success.

Positive Self Talk

It is easy for kids to feel down about their abilities. A single comment from a friend, teacher, or parent can stick in their mind and send them spiraling into anxiety or self doubt. “I’m stupid” is a phrase children often use to describe themselves. Don’t let your child fall into this trap. Instead, give them positive phrases. Family Education suggests the following three phrases:


  • “I have studied and I am prepared.”
  • “I calmly trust my knowledge.”
  • “I am doing the best I can, and my best is terrific.”


Teaching your child positive phrases will reinforce their confidence and help them battle anxiety. Help them practice repeating these phrases silently in their mind, so that they will have them as a tool on test day.


Tests are just another part of education. Don’t put too much emphasis on excellent performance or poor performance. If too much praise is given over an excellent exam, they may feel pressure to meet high expectations. When punishment is given for poor performance, your student may experience fear and anxiety regarding exams. Instead of praising results, praise efforts. Praise good work ethic, foster special interests, and encourage curiosity. These traits will ultimately help your student become successful regardless of how they perform on an exam.


Kids perform better when they are well rested. Sticking to a regular sleep routine will give your child the mental focus they will need to perform well on a test. Sleep helps learning and memory and a child that has had enough sleep will have an easier time recalling learned information. Help your child stick to a regular sleep schedule that allows for plenty of rest.

Know the Instructions

Help your child learn how to follow instructions. Playing simple games, helping them participate in chores around the house, and baking are all great ways to practice following instructions. Also, help your child know that it is ok to ask if they are confused about instructions during a test. A teacher can help clarify any confusing points.

Set Up For Success

With a few healthy habits and positive reinforcement, your child can become a confident test taker. Never pressure your child too much and be aware that standardized tests are only one method among many for identifying academic success.


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