Standardized tests are right around the corner, for kids third grade and up, and while we can’t really study for those types of tests, there are ways to make testing less intimidating for your visual kid. Thankfully, these same strategies work on classroom tests and homework assignments.
Nobody likes taking tests, especially visual kids. In my book, Being Visual; I explain why our visual learners would prefer to build, draw or make something to show what they know. Tests have too many words, time limits, multiple-choice and essay questions, not their strong suit. But tests and homework are a real thing, so let’s figure out ways to make this easier.
- Be Prepared. You’ve heard this one. Be sure the kids get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and get to school on time. For classroom tests, be sure you’ve helped them review material, making it fun, while using as many visual strategies as needed.
- Practice Stress Management Techniques. Test anxiety is very real, so honor your child’s feelings, without giving in to them. Have your child talk about what they’re feeling, to release some emotional charge. Then help them remember times they were successful in similar situations. Practice deep breaths and positive thoughts and expectations.
When you get to the actual test or homework, here are some things that can make things more doable. Some classroom teachers have students practice these strategies, because they work for everyone. But don’t leave it all to the teacher. Practice these techniques on homework assignments and even a practice test.
- Read the question before the passage. This is great for reading assignments and tests. Using this technique on homework and tests can dramatically improve reading comprehension scores. Reading passage will contain a lot more information than kids need to answer the question. Reading the question before reading the passage will help kids zero in on what they need to pay attention to when reading.
- Underline key words in question. Now that we’re reading the question first, make it visual by underlining key words. Do they need to find out how many elephants attended the symphony or how many miles they drove to get there? By underlining or circling key words, they have a quick visual to refer to as they go back to read the passage. For questions that involve math, kids can circle the sign, so they remember to add when they need to add, subtract, divide, etc.
- Eliminate incorrect answers. For multiple choice questions, look for the obvious wrong answers and draw a line through it to cross them out. There are usually The trick here is to not scribble or eliminate an answer so completely, in case they need to read it again.
- Be aware of test time limits. Time management is not a strength of visual kids, so they need some helpful tips. Encourage them to move through the test in order but skip over any questions they’re having a hard time answering. Have them put a check mark in margin for anything they skipped, so they’re sure to go back to it. If they finish early, use the time to be sure they’ve completed it all, before that huge sigh of relief and race to the playground.
- Celebrate actions more than outcomes. We want our kids to take their school work seriously, but not let the outcomes define them. Celebrate the study time, the effort they put into what they do and their determination. Then in true visual kid fashion – go make something!!
I hope you find some helpful tricks and tips here that work for you and your child. These are great techniques to adopt and use all through their years at school and after because any time we can break things down, make them visual and focus our attention – means more and more success.
Do you have any sure fire ways to make testing easier for your visual thinker? Tell us about them in the comments.