Q:

My daughter, who is currently in the sixth grade, is a fantastic student, except when it comes to taking tests. At times, she totally freezes and seems to forget all the information that she knows. How can she overcome this problem before she gets to junior high school? -- Problems With Tests

A:

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to prepare for tests is to overstudy. To do this, students have to go over the day's class work and homework every evening until they feel the material is totally mastered. Then all this material should be reviewed at least once a week. The second thing students need to do is make sure they know the answers to every end-of-the-chapter exercise and every study-guide question. These answers need to be written out before the test is assigned and again in preparation for the test. Much of this material is likely to appear on tests. When students have done these things, they have truly mastered the material. This should help them bring a feeling of confidence to tests and chase away freezing up on tests because of uncertainty about what the correct answers are.

Most teachers give very clear signals about what will be on a test. Your daughter needs to listen carefully and take notes when the teacher discusses this. Then she should highlight these points in her class notes, book notes, outlines, study guides and assignments. Too many students study the wrong things in preparing for tests.

Finally, students frequently don't understand why they had trouble with a test. Your daughter needs to go over tests that caused her problems with either you or her teacher to see where she is facing difficulty. At this grade level, she will probably have some insight into why she couldn't handle some of the questions successfully. In going over the test, she also needs to consider what she needs to have done to answer problem questions successfully.