Exams, essays, summatives, standardized testing, all have one thing in common, pressure to perform in an accepted fashion. And the students who do best on tests know the secret- preparation plus accepting the challenge-
Testing is a chance to show what you know, an opportunity to say “I have done the work, and I am prepared.” When students leave an exam and declare it was “easy” what they are really stating is that they knew the work and understood the questioning process. I tend to over prepare my students, and do practice timed testing.
What happens though when a student who has prepared simply can not stomach the exam process? Parents then need to get involved, and speak with a school guidance and or administration department and determine if there is an alternative way for the student to gain a credit. PLAR- Prior Learning Assessment may involve having a student prepare a portfolio to demonstrate having covered all aspects of the course. Even at University there are options, and no student should feel a single test will determine the future.
I think all the talk about standardized tests and what they don’t measure has merit; the standardized tests do tend to evaluate only specific styles of learning as questions have to be formatted in a particular fashion. But, standardized tests do allow for insight into a learner’s knowledge base and if approached gently and seen as part of the learning process they needn’t be feared. I know you have heard this before – but try not to cram and sleep the night before.