By Karen Deger McChesney, Contributing Writer
My high school student keeps up on all his assignments and homework, and maintains above average grades. When it comes to tests, however, it's obvious that he struggles and consistently scores poorly. He refuses to seek help from his teachers. What can I do to encourage him and help him boost his test scores (and self-confidence) in test-taking?
Your teen sounds proud and that may explain his reluctance to seek help from teachers. First, you need to learn more about your teen's preparation process for tests. You can gain a better understanding by observing the following:
Next, you want to learn more about your teen's test-taking skills and exactly what happens during the test. Your goal is to find patterns in his test-taking. This requires going behind the scenes and gathering information from teachers, so you have a snapshot of your teen sitting at a desk taking a test. As a parent, I obtained this exact information from teachers. Their observations and insights were priceless! I highly recommend that you email or call his core subject teachers and ask them the following questions:
Lastly, I urge you to take advantage of every second when your teen speaks out about tests. Hang on to his every word. Remember the power of storytelling to comfort your teen and boost his self-confidence. Consider telling your own stories about a high school teacher you had who was known for giving impossible tests or stories about your son's favorite adult relative who had great tricks for passing tests. Stories and humor are guaranteed to lighten the stress your proud teen feels whenever he merely hears the word "test." In fact, stories will often elicit questions and comments from your teen that he would otherwise never ask you. He may respond, "Same here. I suck at essay tests," or "So, how did you pass his tests?" or "That's what my algebra tests are like." Gradually, with your patience and cheerleading, your teen will feel confident enough to speak up and be open to new ways to prepare for and take tests.