Test Taking Tips from Dr. Shey Cunha, Psy.D. | Polk County Moms
parents helping child with studying

The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) is scheduled to begin in the upcoming weeks for Polk County Students. Like most parents, I have a love/hate relationship with standardized testing. I want to know how my child is doing overall but I don’t want it to negatively impact him. I also want to make sure I am providing the support and tools my child needs in order to be prepared for testing without being pushy.

Standardized testing is a stressful time for students, teachers, and parents. We wanted to help parents with practical advice for their test takers. We reached out to Dr. Shey Cunha from Star Psychology, LLC for some tips and suggestions.

  1. Make sure they have slept well in the days leading up to testing. For kids ages 6 – 12 that means a minimum of 9 hours, and for 13 – 18-year-olds, that means a minimum of 8 hours, according to the CDC.
  2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is essential on testing days. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast are able to focus better and do better overall on exams. It’s easier to focus if not distracted by a grumbling tummy.
  3. Encourage them to take their time reading and answering questions. There are no bonus points for finishing early. Read the question a few times to make sure you are answering what is asked.
  4. Practice with sample questions in the days leading up to the test. This will help the kids become familiar with the format and reduce some of the anxiety. You can find sample questions HERE
  5. Check with your child’s school to see what they need to bring on test days. Some schools require kids to bring a calculator, paper, and pencils while others provide them.
  6. Help reduce anxiety by coming up with strategies on what to do if they feel overwhelmed during testing. Things like closing their eyes and taking deep breaths may seem simple but it is very helpful.
  7. Lastly, and most importantly let your kids know that these tests are not perfect. Achievement tests measure subject-specific knowledge and do not measure overall knowledge or abilities. They are loved, respected, and valued regardless of what they score on a subject.
tips for kids when overwhelmed

Are you concerned about your child’s academic progress, and behavior and want to speak with a professional? Star Psychology provides evidence-based, comprehensive psychological and educational services within Lakeland and Brandon, Florida. Dr. Cunha offers Psychoeducational Evaluation, Gifted Assessments, Early Childhood Evaluation, Comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluation, and Psychological Assessments. 

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