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STAAR Test Taking Tips

Jan 13, 2019

It's that time of the year again where parents and students alike are preparing, and maybe worrying, for the STAAR test.

 

There is a lot of conversation about standardized testing with pros and cons on both sides; In the end, your student still has to take the test and one of the top pros for standardized testing is the fact that it is a great benchmark for parents and teachers to see how a student is doing other students in the class, school, city, and even the country! But, one of the top cons against standardized testing is that it can create MAJOR stress! Your student feels the pressure to perform well on the test, their test score can affect their confidence with high scores boosting their confidence while if they end up not meeting their, or your, expectations then they usually have their confidence deflated. This can lead to a student growing a distaste for school and not trusting in their abilities when it's test time. 

 

But fear not! Here are a couple of STAAR test taking tips to, hopefully, lighten the burden on you, your student, and the whole family this year!

 

TIP 1

KNOW/UNDERSTAND THE CONTENT

We start off with saying to know/understand the content that is going to be on the test. The content on the test usually covers skills and knowledge that they have acquired in class, so step number one should be to review and study the content to ensure your student has a firm understanding on the material. If you've studied hard for something for the past year and get into a stressful situation, your muscle memory takes over and you've finished what you were supposed to correctly without even realizing it! The same goes with math in the sense that if you know how to do 4+4, then you don't have to work it out because your muscle memory is going to tell you immediately that the answer is 8; why? Because you have worked on it so much that you have mastered this knowledge and it has become muscle memory at this point. Now apply this situation to any of the content on the STAAR test, and this should be the goal for your child.

There is also a lot of STAAR prep practice tests that you and your child can practice with, and here at Mathnasium, we actually put these into your child's learning plan with us to ensure that they see some of the content that goes on STAAR tests, and in the event that they don't understand a section, we go over it with them to ensure that they understand it and that they have the confidence to do it correctly on the test!

 

TIP 2

BE COMFORTABLE TAKING TESTS

A lot of students suffer from testing anxiety, and a huge reason for testing anxiety is that they are not confident about their knowledge on the material or that they do not know what they test is going to be like. But just like we discussed in tip 1, if you practice something consistently, then when it comes game time, you are bound to perform! So as a parent, one thing you can do is actually print out practice tests, and have them sit there and complete it in front of you. This knocks out two important things: gets them prepared for the content, gets them use to taking the actual STAAR test. The sooner your student knocks off the fear that comes with not knowing what the test is going to be like, the better for your student when they get in the classroom to take the test. So to wrap up tip 2, practice, practice, practice! In sports they have a saying that goes, "You play like you practice and you practice like you play." 

At Mathnasium, we help students overcome this testing anxiety in multiple ways. For one, we do not use the word "test" due to the panic attack that it usually creates in students. Instead we use the word "assessment" for the test that they take for us to see exactly what areas of math they struggle in. For example, the first day your student would come in is for us to assess them with their very own assessment. We will see what they know and do not know by giving them an assessment based on where THEY are comfortable with math, not necessarily based on their grade level. A lot of times we see that a student may be in 7th grade, for example, but they have been struggling in math since 5th grade; so we would go back and give them an assessment based on skills they should have mastered in 5th grade, and then work from there to build their math foundation. If you have a house with a poor foundation, you can do all the cosmetic repairs you want to the surface, but in the end, the house will not stand because you neglected that foundation. We have that same view with math and education, we need to fix their foundation in order to ensure that their surface work will stand.

 

TIP 3

BE RELAXED AND CONFIDENT

All the previous tips are very important, but none of it will matter if your student is not mentally and physically prepared to do good come test time! Here are some ideas:

  • Make sure your student gets a good night sleep before the test
  • Make sure your student eats a good breakfast. Make sure they do not eat too much sugar to avoid "crashing" during the test
  • Make sure your student knows that they can take breaks. A lot of students think that tests are races and if everyone finishes before them that they lost; Make sure they know that the STAAR test, and all tests, are on their own pace and they can take breaks if they need to. It doesn’t matter how long it takes them to complete the test, as long as they do the best they can 
  • Make sure your student is confident. Students get further with a positive attitude compared to a negative attitude
  • This one is for you parents: Plan something special for your student post-test. Give them something to look forward to, almost like a celebration for their hard-work on the test, and preparing for the test. Maybe a movie or dinner at their favorite restaurant, reward their efforts!

 

TIP 4

BRING THEM TO MATHNASIUM

The final tip would be to bring them to Mathnasium to get assessed and get started on preparing for not just the STAAR test, but also to increase their math knowledge whether they are behind in their math or advanced in their math, there is a program for all math students here! We also have a STAAR Prep Program where we work on all of the tips mentioned above with your student ( except tip 3, your students getting to sleep on time is 100% on you parents :) ).

If you would like to schedule your students Risk-Free Assessment, then just click the button below!

This assessment will be completely FREE, this is just for you parents to see what math areas they have knowledge and what math areas they need help in! And if you would like to sign up with us, then we would create a learning plan based 100% on the questions they missed, and the areas they need help in. We also help with math homework, and help in building your student's math confidence! We hope to see your family soon!

 

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