Standardized Tests

With the advent of standardized tests, both the MSAs and the HSAs, I frequently hear from puzzled parents. One mother called to say that her son was in AP Biology, and had a high A in the course. She was surprised to hear the school’s recommendation that he attend an eight-week after - school prep course for the HSA. The reason? He didn’t test well.

How does the Stressless Tests™ program help students with standardized tests? While many schools offer special prep classes, the focus tends to be on the structure and content of the test itself. My work is on the other half of the test: the person taking it. I specialize in brain determined learning styles and stress.

Why Focus on Learning Style?
Research tells us that approximately fifty percent of all students have an in-born learning style that is fundamentally at odds with the way they are asked to respond on tests.  It is a matter of how their brain processes, stores and retrieves information. Without factoring in learning style and helping students adopt additional learning strategies, test results can suffer. The irony is that students may actually understand the material very well, but not in a way that shows up well on tests.

The impact of stress is an important factor in and of itself. High school students in my Study Skills courses tell me they think of the HSA as an easy exam. They describe the exam as one that would be almost impossible to fail. So what’s the hard part? “It’s the environment,” they say. “Everything is different from the usual test.” They note the added pressures of knowing they have to pass the test, parental expectations, having someone other than their classroom teacher administer it, and wording on tests that is different from the way they have learned the material in class.

Experience has shown that once students master the Stressless Tests™ method, they have greater confidence and higher performance on all tests, including classroom and standardized tests.


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