Preparing for your Testing Appointment

Parents often ask me how they can prepare their child for testing. This can vary from child to child and will depend on the reason for testing. However, it is always important for the child to feel at ease in the testing situation and there are a few general guidelines I can give you.

  1. Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a good breakfast.
  2. Bring snacks. Your child cannot eat or drink during testing but we will take breaks and children often like to have a little snack at that time, as well as during the time after testing while the parents and examiner discuss results.
  3. Show your child my video – they might feel more comfortable going somewhere familiar and the website gives them a chance to see pictures of me, the office, and the treasure chest (and they get to pick a prize when they are finished!)
  4. Try to give yourself plenty of time to arrive – if you are rushing to get here your child might feel tense and nervous, and this can interfere with their performance.
  5. I will not tell you specific ways to “coach” your child prior to testing. The tests are protected and confidential, and the test activities are intended to be novel for all children. I provide a great deal of encouragement and I work carefully with children to put them at ease and to ensure they are motivated and engaged. Please do not put pressure on your child about his or her test performance.
  6. I do not recommend using the word “test” with young children – I simply say we are going to do some “fun activities”. I also do not recommend calling the tests “games” because the tests are truly not very game-like and children will probably be disappointed and confused when they have been told they get to play games at their appointment. For private school admissions testing I encourage parents to tell their children that they are going to meet someone who helps parents select a school for them, and that we are going to do some fun activities to figure out what might be the best type of school.
  7. For learning disabilities/attention deficit evaluations, I ask parents to please bring all school records, tutoring records, and any previous test results they have available. As far as what you should tell your child in advance about the test appointment, this will truly depend on his or her level of understanding about the observed difficulties – we can discuss this on the phone in advance.
  8. For highly capable program appeals testing, the children typically already have some idea about why they are being tested and that it is, in fact, testing. If this is the case, I would recommend simply letting them know that you didn’t feel the test they took at school gave you enough information to decide what is the best school program for them, and that you and the school need more information. And then I would emphasize the “fun activities” aspect of their appointment.
  9. If your child is ill, please call to reschedule. Unfortunately, the private school application deadlines and public schools appeals deadlines occur during cold and flu season so if your test appointment is close to the deadline this can present a difficulty. However, I am almost always able to shuffle my schedule around a bit to make some exceptions for children who are ill. It is truly worth waiting because if your child is ill, it will likely interfere with his or her performance, and there are some significant obstacles to re-testing a child. It is better to cancel and reschedule.
  10. Parents are often concerned that their children might feel anxious if they think they are going for a doctor’s appointment. You and your children are welcome to call me “Amy”.
  11. Testing appointments can take between two and six hours which can be a torturously long wait for young siblings. We do have a few toys and books in the waiting room but it is not set up for hours-long waits for siblings. You are certainly welcome to bring other children but I encourage you to bring plenty to do to keep them entertained. We can also discuss the option of leaving a child to be tested while you run errands or take the other children out to play. This is often possible, depending on the age of the child being tested, his or her comfort with the parent leaving, and your immediate availability via cell phone.
  12. Payment is due at the time of service for private school admissions testing and highly capable program appeals testing. I accept checks, all major credit cards, cash or Paypal. Payment for other services, such as comprehensive evaluations, is also due at the time of service unless a claim is being submitted to your insurance.