Tips from a Costa Mesa Tutor: 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout during Testing Week


These days elementary school aged kids will take a series of standardized exams before the end of the school year. For the most part, younger children won’t have the same consequences as older children if they perform poorly on these tests but the experience is still stressful. College prep students have plenty of practice focusing for extended periods of time to be successful on standardized exams, but younger kids don’t possess this type of self-control yet. They need to move around and take frequent breaks that may or may not be allowed by the testing program in their school district. Because these tests are required, children won’t have much of a choice, but they can have a positive or negative experience depending on the specifics of the situation. What can younger students do to avoid burnout during testing week?

1. Pack a snack

Younger kids will get extra hungry if they have to concentrate on standardized testing for most of the school day. Some kids will take different tests on different days and may be finished by lunchtime but, in other cases, they may have to be in the testing room from morning until afternoon. Attempting to focus on countless multiple choice questions on an empty stomach can be tough. It’s a good idea to pack an extra snack into a kid’s lunch so they can eat something in between exams.

2. Talk to the child’s teacher about the week’s schedule

It’s also a good idea to speak with the teacher about the schedule for the week. For example, if testing will occur all day Tuesday and Thursday then parents might want to schedule some physically active activity at the end of those days such as an impromptu soccer match or a trip to the beach. Additionally, children who have been testing for part or all of the day will probably be especially antsy when they get home from school. It’s a good idea to know what’s going to happen ahead of time (READ: 5 Tips for Success on a Literature Final Exam).

3. Get a good night’s sleep

A well-rested child is much more likely to avoid unnecessary stress during testing week. Most people, regardless of their age, won’t do well on an exam if they haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep. Younger kids should be getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis, but this is especially true of testing week. Additionally, students will be able to work better on their behavior if they have had a good night’s rest. There are often last minute changes that occur during testing week, and teachers and administrators are a little bit stressed out, which can require a higher level of focus and cooperation from students.

4. Allow for play time after school

Testing week is a great time to schedule play time as soon as school gets out. If students have opportunities to get out all of the energy that has built up during the day they can go back to school tomorrow and successfully take more tests. It’s very difficult for younger children to sit all day at school and then come home and continue to be sedentary. If possible, schedule a trip to the park or playground where kids can enjoy the outdoors.

5. Prepare kids ahead of time

Kids who don’t know about the purpose of testing week might feel confused when they arrive at school and find out they’ll be in front of a computer screen most of the day. Younger kids especially can benefit from knowing what their daily schedule will be like that week and why they need to take these exams. An informed child is less stressed out and more adaptive.
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