Test Prep – ‘the Dos and Don’ts’
It is imperative that those undergoing testing avoid any and all online ‘test prep companies,’ or practice exams/question samples, prior to testing. Based on our ethical guidelines, psychologists are required to end testing and discard scores if it becomes clear a child has been ‘prepped’ or exposed in advance to test materials (outside of previous testing experiences). Additionally, gifted programs and private schools are careful to ensure that potential applicants have not been prepped. They will not accept students if they are concerned.
Instead, we recommend focusing on adequate sleep, good nutrition, and appropriate relaxation and exercise prior to testing. Of course, activities like reading, brain games, board games, building, drawing, and puzzles, and school-based tasks are completely appropriate prior to testing.
If you or your child is sick on the testing day, we recommend you call to reschedule even though re-scheduling may delay results, as illness may compromise performance.
How to Talk with Kids about Testing
We like to keep it simple and positive. Try something like, “Everyone’s brain is different, and brains are always changing. You are going to do some testing to learn how you think, learn, and feel right now. This will help us understand you better, help us help you to feel your best, and help us figure out ways to make school, homework, and studying as enjoyable and easy as possible. Lots of people take these tests to help them, their families, and their teachers. Some of the testing will be really easy, and some will be really hard. It is supposed to be that way, and it is ok and expected if you make mistakes. You are not getting grades like in school. We just want you to do your best.”