The AQE countdown continues. Don’t panic – you’ve lots of time left to get prepared! Here’s how to avoid anxiety about AQE practice test scores.
Your child’s school is probably getting into the swing of practice tests, so that means you’ll see regular results coming home. It’s an unusual parent who doesn’t feel some element of anxiety about these scores. So there’s lesson one – the majority of parents feel the same when the results start to matter!
Ups and downs
It’s totally normal for practice test scores to go up and down from week to week. Your child will get more consistent as times passes. Practice papers do vary in difficulty – so will the actual papers. Only a small minority of children perform consistently in every paper. Most children have ups and downs.
Here are a few things you shouldn’t worry about at all –
Unusually low AQE practice test scores on a ‘off day’
If your child scores significantly lower than normal, just put it down to an ‘off day’ and move on. They may have been tired, sick, distracted. You’ll be glad to know that the actual test procedure allows for an off day too. In AQE tests, only the best two of your child’s three scores count.
Didn’t get finished
Your child is not just practising using their knowledge to answer questions. They are also learning to get the timing right – working at a pace that will eventually allow them to get the paper finished. Timing it right comes with repetition.
Missed a page by mistake
Celebrate this one, please! This is actually a great thing to do in a practice paper, almost guaranteeing they’ll never do it again. Teach them to look at the page numbers as they turn the pages. Easily fixed.
Silly mistakes in AQE practice test
Your first thought when you see a silly mistake – “Aw, how annoying, they know how to do that.” Let that negative thought go, and focus on the positive – “they know how to do that.” How good does that sound? Repeat after me – “they know how to do that.” That’s great.
Careful checking later on in the process will really help to cut down on the sillies. Checking is a learned skill. It doesn’t come instinctively to most children. It’s one of the things that improves most with practice, so don’t tear your hair out at this stage!
Keep this word at the front of your mind – PRACTICE
The most important thing to remember at this stage is that they are called PRACTICE papers for a reason. That’s their purpose – for your child to practise their skills. They don’t need to be perfect. They don’t need to be finished. At this stage, they don’t even need to be consistent.
Your child is not just practising using their knowledge to answer questions.
They are also learning to get the timing right.
They’re working on their concentration skills, and their ability to focus for an hour (or more) on one task.
Your child is also getting familiar with the format of the papers.
Eventually, they’ll also learn how to check their work.
Try to avoid comparing your child’s score to others
Instead, focus on the improvements your child has made. You are the biggest influence on their self-esteem, so celebrate improvements with any chance you get, however small. You’re looking for steady, often small improvements in score as the weeks pass. It’s unrealistic to expect your child’s score to go up 5% every test they take. Just trust that the general trend as the weeks and months go by should be steadily upwards.
Repetition is your best friend at this stage. So take 10 minutes to have another look at a tricky question when your child brings home a practice paper. Work the answer out together. Take a picture of it on your phone. In a week’s time, try it again.
Small, consistent improvements are the best and most sustainable way forward. Focus on them – they all add up.
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