Why Tests Matter, and How They Can Help Your Child (page 2)

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Updated on Mar 26, 2010

Test-taking: in the workplace

Getting a job requires good interviews, and interviews are simply oral tests.

With knowledge in all professional areas expanding exponentially year by year, anyone in any kind of job may face exams to qualify for new areas of job responsibility. Professional success and advancement (promotion) is often rooted in test achievement.

And when one stops to think about it, life is filled with unwritten exams. Every job is filled with tests on a daily basis. A boss says to an employee, “Can you work out this problem for me?” (The response can’t be, “Well, I’m not sure.”) A client asks a professional person, “Can you answer this question for me?” (The response can’t be, “I’ll have to ask someone else.)

Supplying a wrong answer in a high school chemistry test loses points. In professional life, wrong answers can have dramatic consequences. Miscalculations by an engineer could mean that a building collapses. A misdiagnosis by a doctor endangers lives.

Test-Taking: in life

Tests, examinations, quizzes are all an inexorable part of life. So students should learn as early as possible that if they want to really feel confident about themselves and their learning ability, they should become great test-takers. Even if students cannot grow to love tests, students must respect them and rise to the challenge because their future could depend on it.

Students should master the whole nature of “test-taking”, from accepting a challenge to really understanding the questions, to providing complete, accurate, and articulate answers. And finally, the result: the satisfaction of having gained knowledge and the confidence to use that knowledge in whatever the future might bring.

How Parents Can Help

As students prepare for tests, parents can offer a positive support role:

  • Make sure that your child does all his homework and reading assignments which will help make sure he is prepared for the test.
  • Encourage your child to space out their studying and homework assignments so that he won't be forced to cram on the night before the test.
  • It’s normal to be anxious about your child's test, but try to keep cool around your child. You don't want them to get anxious about their tests, too.
  • Encourage your child to do well but don't pressure him. You may stress him out. It’s important for your child to stay relaxed on the test.
  • Provide a quiet, well lighted area with little distractions to help your child study efficiently.
  • Mark down test days on your calendar so you and your child are both aware of testing dates.

Robert Neuman has spent the last 25 years advising students as the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) which has 7,000 undergraduates. Dr. Neuman’s book, Are you really ready for college?, A College Dean’s 12 Secrets for Success— what high school students don’t know, is packed with tips about how to succeed in high school and college. For more information or to order a copy of the book, go to

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