Helping Your Teen Battle Testing Fatigue

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Faced with an onslaught of tests — from college entrance exams to driver’s license tests to standardized high school tests — it’s not uncommon for your teen to feel exhausted, stressed and fatigued. And as that fatigue kicks in, your child’s ability to do well on these important exams can plummet. As a parent, there are several key ways that you can help your teenager battle testing fatigue, score better on exams and feel less anxious and stressed.

1. Switch It Up

According to research published by the Association for Psychological Science, changing up the study process can reinvigorate your teen. This study was one of the biggest comprehensive reviews ever done on students and memory retention.

They found that two specific strategies could help reduce mental fatigue for students who were studying for an exam.

The first was having the teen teach the information to someone else. For example, you could encourage the teenager to try and explain to their sibling the concept that he or she is being tested on. By teaching or explaining what they’re trying to study and memorize, your teen is forced to think about the exam material in a more linear fashion.

Switching topics was the second strategy that researchers said was effective for banishing testing fatigue. For example, if your teenager is studying for the SAT test, encourage your child to switch between the writing section and the mathematics section every couple of hours instead of devoting the entire afternoon to just one of the SAT topics.

2. Try a Practice Test

Students who take practice tests or exams score better on the real deal compared to students who don’t take practice tests, notes a study published in the Psychological Science research journal.

This is due to many factors. Doing a practice exam can quickly show your child what areas she needs to brush up on, and it helps eliminate mental fatigue by giving her clear direction on what she should be studying and what she can skip over.

Additionally, it gives your teenager insight on the exam’s different question formats. Margaret K. Snooks at the University of Houston–Clear Lake Teaching-Learning Enhancement Center says that this is critical because it boosts their confidence and reduces their test anxiety.

No matter what the subject matter, most tests and exams have practice versions that your teenager can do. For example, if they’re studying for their commercial driver’s license, there are free online CDL practice tests. There are also practice tests for the SAT, ACT, GRED and other standardized exams. If you can’t find an online test, head to a local bookstore. There are volumes and volumes of sample test booklets for every exam under the sun.

3. Take a Break

Simply taking a break can clear your teenager’s mental fatigue and help them perform better on an exam. In a groundbreaking study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that taking a break had the same impact on test scores as an additional 19 school days. The next time your teen complains about studying too long and not being able to think straight, send them outside for some fresh air. It might seem counterproductive, but the research shows otherwise!

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