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Most Common Test-Taking Mistakes Very Young Children Make: Part Four

Most Common Test-Taking Mistakes Very Young Children Make: Part Four

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - February 16th, 2016

Continuing our series on the most common mistakes kids make in test-taking, let’s look squarely at a problem that could easily be avoided–mechanical issues.

This series addresses helping very young children, ages 4-7, overcome and avoid these common mistakes. Yesterday, we talked about attention issues, as children make mistakes due to focus problems. Today, I want to hone in on a problem that could carry on through to adulthood–mechanical issues. If nipped in the bud now, it will save your child a lot of heartache in the future.

Most Common Mistakes Kids Make Four 

Here are 3 common mistakes and solutions in this situation–

Mechanical Issues

  • Not Pointing Clearly at the Answers – When young children take a test, the questions are usually read to them and they must point to the answer. Many little ones will point to one answer, then another, or will point to an answer and miss the answer they intended to touch altogether. 
  • Solution: When practicing questions with your child, tell her to sit on her hands while she is looking through all the answer possibilities so that she doesn’t prematurely pick an answer she will want to change with further thought.  Then, explain to her that her pointer finger is a “magic finger.”  Tell her to pull out her “magic finger” and touch the answer.  Teach her to touch the answer with intention and to leave her finger right there, not to zig zag her finger among several answers. 


  • Equipment Issues – Make sure that your child knows how to work everything he will need to use when taking the test.
  • Solution: If your child will be using a pencil to take the test, be sure to send in an extra pencil in case the lead point breaks. If your child will be taking a test on an iPad or tablet, be sure to do practice questions ahead of time on an iPad or tablet – don’t let the test be the first time your child has ever used a tablet.


  • Bubbling errors – These days, bubble tests are given to children as early as kindergarten (which is too early in our view, but we see it often). Kids easily make mistakes such as not filling in bubbles completely, accidentally filling in 2 bubbles on the same row and losing his place, filling in the wrong bubble number and (again) losing his place.
  • Solution: Tell your child that these are carelessness errors that are very easy to make at any age.  Be sure to do the bubble lesson we have on  The questions on the lesson are easy because the point of the lesson is to make sure your child knows how to fill in the bubbles that match each question.  Tell your child to be very careful when filling in bubbles and to regularly go back (every 3 or 4 questions) and check to be sure she is matching the right question with the right bubble. 

Tomorrow, we will finish the series up with the issue of the child not understanding how to take a test–GREAT TIPS for your child’s success!


Missed the first part of the series?  

Most Common Test-Taking Mistakes Very Young Children Make: Part One

Most Common Test-Taking Mistakes Very Young Children Make: Part Two

Most Common Test-Taking Mistakes Very Young Children Make: Part Three

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