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

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

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - February 11th, 2016

Today, we are beginning a new series on the most common mistakes kids make in test-taking.

We will begin with very young children, ages 4-7, for this series and will be addressing older children in the weeks to come.  In this series we want to show you how to help your child overcome these mistakes, so they can avoid pitfalls, as they take tests.

Most Common Mistakes Kids Make One

Let’s Begin with the Most Common Test-Taking Mistakes Very Young Children Make: Part One

Through the years, we at have worked with thousands of parents who are helping to prepare their young children for important tests.  According to John Dunlosky, professor of psychology at Kent State University, the most effective way to master underlying abilities is by taking practice tests on to-be-learned materials.   While practicing model questions for a test will help your child master the skills needed to do well on that particular assessment, there is another factor to be considered.  That is, does your child know how to take a test?

After working with so many families, we know this for sure–there are 2 critical parts to doing well on any test:

  • The child must have the underlying abilities being assessed, whatever they are; and
  • The child must be able to show what they know during the actual test, and this requires test-taking skills.

That’s right.  Getting that high score on any test requires two completely different skill sets.  When practicing with their children, parents often focus only on whether or not the child has the math, verbal or visual-spatial reasoning skills being tested, and they miss the fact that the child may not be showing what he knows because of test-taking mistakes that are avoidable.

If your child is preparing to take an important test, I recommend that you observe your child working through a set of practice questions (we have thousands of these at ).  If you are too busy asking the questions, then have another adult in the house observe your child as the two of you practice.  Do this after you read about the most common mistakes kids make so you will know what to look for.  Then, go back and work on the test taking mistakes you observed her making just as vigorously as you work on building those underlying skills.

Note:  Take your time when it comes to working on test-taking skills.  The common mistakes kids make will not be corrected overnight.  Be aware of them and work on them a little bit at a time while your child prepares for upcoming tests.  Remember to always keep your test prep fun and playful when working with small children.  That’s the best way to help them master these new skills!

Here are ALL the articles in this series:

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Lilian Stitchkin

I would like to receive more information about the units you mentioned.
I live in Santiago Chile
How can I print the information given.

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