21 answers

Preparing for the FCAT

Seeking Mom's with advice for mom's who have 3rd graders going to take the FCAT. My daughter is in 3rd grade and a nervous reck about taking the test, she was already told by her cousins (older then her) that if she does not pass the test she will fail 3rd grade and she is already struggling with the work in 3rd grade as it is. I've been doing the packets with her in the evening, of course after homework and she does great, and she is in the after school program to study for the fcat, but she is still on edge with it. If anyone out there has any advice as to how to calm her down would be wonderful. We already plan a FCAT weekend in which we are going to do everything under the sun to keep her mind off of it, such as Shop, Movies, go to lunch, shop more, sleepovers. I know she will do wonderful on the test that is not the problem it is calming before and get the negatives out of her mind.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I would like to Thank everyone who responded to question! I appreciated a lot and I talked to my daughter with just about every suggestion made, and she also says Thank you! When my daughter came home the first day after testing, I asked her how did everything go, she looked me right in the eyes and said "everything was so easy, all the answers are right there like you said mom" then I asked her, "How do you think you scored?" She did not hesitated one bit and said "I am going to get a 5 on my test, did you know mom that that is the highest score and I have that score!" That was the best day of my life, getting a response like that from a child that has struggled so hard this far is like a bolder lifted from your chest, almost like the day I felt when I gave birth to her, what more can a mom ask for!!!! Well thank you again to Everyone and I will be sure to keep this site close to my Heart like I do my Daughter this site has been more helpful then you could ever imagine and I would like to say again and again! God Bless to All of You C.

Featured Answers

It sounds like you're doing everything already and good luck! I have a teen daughter who gets very restless and has trouble sleeping before tests in her harder subjects. What works best is getting tutoring or trying for an extra fifteen minutes every day. A little extra everyday is supposed to be a lot better than cramming ever is, but it sounds like you already know that. You might also tell her that her cousins are "full of soup."

My son is going through the same thing. What I did is have my older son talk to him about the test. He told him that the test wasn't as hard as he thought it was.

More Answers

I am a retired elementary teacher. I have a 12 year old (6th grade) and an 8 year old (3rd grade). (yes I am retired at 38). In Alberta where I am from there are the Provincial Exams for grades 3,6 and 9 (much like your FCAT). So i have some experience around that. Iwill give you the same advice I used to give my parents.

STOP THE STUDYING NOW. All this attention, all this presure,it is too much for her. OMG She is in the 3rd grade. What is she going to be like with the stress of the 6th grade? Or high school? OMG can you imagine what kind of wreck she will be in college!

You have a wonderful teachable moment here. It is up to you what you do with it.

Let her know that this test (like most she will have in her life) is truly not that important.

Let her know that it is just a pen and paper thing, it does not determine her overall success in life.

She must know that this does not determine her likeability in life.

This test does not reflect her goodness, her kindness and her spirit.

The test has no relation to how much she is loved.

The test does not determine how nice of a person she is, how many people like her and how she is able to help people.

The test does not in any way shape or form make her a better or worse person. This test just is. Only she can determine what kind of person she will be. She can be strong and move forward or she can be broken and afraid.

AH, but this test, this worrying can easily make her a worse person The constant pressure, the stress, that can make for a worse child.

This is your moment as a mom to shine. Teach her. Teach her now. You only get one chance to make this second count...and this one...and this one...

B., B.A;B.E.d.
Family Healht and Wellness Coach

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe she could bring a test buddy, like a stuffed animal that would make her feel better. You can ask the teacher if this is possible. My undergraduate college professor suggested this method for us nervous college students, so maybe it would work for her. Maybe it could be a necklace or a bracelet if the stuffed animal won't work. I had horrible test anxiety, mostly with subjects I wasn't comfortable in, so I know what she is going through. I got over it eventually, but the only thing that works permanently is feeling that you know the subject.
So for that, practice is the only thing that will ultimately help. Set up mock tests in your living room, with a timer and no help. If she has her own small desk use that. Usually you can find copies of practice tests and old tests. When she can do them on her own without asking you for help she should be just fine.
And for crying out loud, she's only in third grade, she shouldn't have to stress like this over a test. The worst that happens, I think, is she takes a few summer school classes and retakes the test. Am I right? My daughter is only 14 months so I don't know about these standardized tests yet.
And I just read what the other moms had to say. They've got it going on. I would do everything they said too; make sure she knows the test doesn't determine how she's good and loved; reassure her that she's honestly well prepared. I guess I tried to give some practical advice about test anxiety from the perspective of someone who had it. I think it's awful it has to be applied to a third grader though. Ask her what would make her feel confident about the test and do that.

I agree with marys response. there are ALOT involved in the passing, and to be held back does require admin/teacher/etc as well as a very verry low score. Honestly, its a very very large amt of questions for your child to miss to get a failing score.

Suggestion? my childs teacher has us (parents) writing a letter for the student to read before taking the test. ((ITS WWHAT IM WORKIN ON RITE NOW ACTUALLY LOL)) its words of encouragement. reminders from dad/mom/etc to relax, do your best..we love you and know you will do great..etc. The teacher is going to suprise the students and give them all the letters to read before the FCAT testing begins.
Maybe send a letter in and ask the teacher to let your child read it before they begin. :)
Good Luck... ps Fcat stinks


I work at a school and I hate when the children have to take the FCAT. I believe it is a useless test. How can you tell a parent whose child has received A's all year, that they are not going to pass because they did not do well on the FCAT? Now to calm your daughter down. Tell her not to listen to others and it is no big deal. She will do fine. Just think of it as another classroom test. She has plenty of time to get the questions done. Make sure that she has a big breakfast in the morning to include apple or apple juice, bananas or peanut butter. Those are all considered brain food. Just tell her to do her best and she will be fine. Hope this information helps.


Hi. My name is K. and I am the mother of two girls ages 16 and 13. My daughters are both fairly good students but anxious test takers. In an effort to easy their anxiety I have never put much pressure on them about grades but they put a lot of pressure on themselves.

Its been my experience that girls need a lot of verbal reassurance and some facts that make sense to them to help them keep it all in perspective.

I would take your daughter out to lunch just the two of you and explain to her a couple of things to make her feel better.

1)The teachers and the school make a HUGE deal out of this because the better the school does (as a whole not her individually) the more money they get. So the county puts alot of pressure on the teachers and the teachers in turn put pressure on the kids. If for some reason she doesnt not do "extremely" well that is Ok. The world isnt going to come to an end. She just needs to pass.

This will take some of the pressure off of her.

2) The teachers also have to make a big deal out of this because otherwise some children (NOT her) wont take it seriously and they will goof around and not "TRY" their best like she is going to do.

3) Kids get alot of pressure from their parents and teachers etc. Then they get nervous and make other kids like her nervous. Dont listen to other people.

About her passing:

1) Tell her if anyone ( her teacher ) thought their was going to be a problem with her passing they would have brought it to your attention. Parents get notes before the FCAT if the teacher feels the student might not do well.(PS: MY FRIEND GOT ONE!)

2)Tell her that she has studyied enough and now she must take the weekend to relax because that is as improtant as what she knows. Reassure her she will be able to pass but she must relax now so she will be able to take the test easily.

I remember my very panicy 13 year old was a mess too but came home saying OMG- that was soooo much easier then I thought it would be!! Once she sees how easy it really is she wont let all the hype get to her next time.

Good Luck! We will be Fcating here too.

Let me give my two cents. Failing the FCAT does not automatically cause a student to repeat the thrid grade. The Teachers and administration will take the child's social development, success in academics and overall history into account before recommending a child be held back. If she's been hard at work so far, with only a couple of days until the test, PLEASE let her relax! Stressing out isn't going to do her or you any good.
One thing I did with my son (who also stressed about the FCAT), the end of the week, (which would be tomorrow) when he came home from school, we took all the FCAT practice packets and burned them in the backyard! We made a ceremony out of it. "If I don't know it now - I never will" was out victory chant over the burning pages. It was goofy - but it made him laugh and relax.

IF she is held back at the end of the year, please go over her grades and other scores with her teacher and guidance counselor. They do have your child's best interest at heart. It's far easier to repeat now than it would be in the 8th grade!

Good Luck!

It sounds like you're doing everything already and good luck! I have a teen daughter who gets very restless and has trouble sleeping before tests in her harder subjects. What works best is getting tutoring or trying for an extra fifteen minutes every day. A little extra everyday is supposed to be a lot better than cramming ever is, but it sounds like you already know that. You might also tell her that her cousins are "full of soup."

I can suggest you give that precious daughter some straight talk and let her know how special she is and that she has always done well because she has an angel watching over her. She will need to relax and believe what you tell her not her cousins. You reassure her of the love of God and how he has gifted her with wisdom and knowledge and she is an ambassador of peace. She will do well because you, dad, brothers are just fine.

This test is over rated and all she has to is to take her time, read over the questions and answer the questions one at a time.

I can sympathize with you. I have a 3rd and a 2nd grader who feel the same way. I also have a 1st grader taking tests this week. Just let them know that if they do there best then that is all that you or their teacher can ask of them. In most cases kids do way better than they think they can. I think the schools here put so much emphasis on these tests that the kids worry needlessly. Just be supportive and remind your child all this week that they are wonderful and that however they do on the test you will be proud of them.

It is true if she fails the fcat then she will be retained regardless of grades.I know of this firsthand,my daughter is repeating the third grade this year due to failing the fcat and her grades was real good a's and b's but failed the fcat and she was retained but they do offer summer school to where in a few weeks they can be tested and if they pass the test in summer school then they can be promoted.With my daughter even if she fails the fcat this year they can't retain her for it cause she has already been retained last yr.If she was ever retained before then they would'nt have retained her last yr and they can't retain her again in elementary due to the fcat again.She is ese so that may make a difference you can call and talk to the guidance counsler at the school who can explain it all to u good luck

I would take the stress off it if possible. Convince her she's done everything, more than most kids to prepare, that she's got it going on and that she has nothing to worry about. Its going to be a lot easier for her than most kids. Besides, you'll still love her no matter the outcome. BTW if she fails the math, they don't hold her back, she goes on to 4th grade, but goes to a different math class. I believe that waaayyyy too much stress is placed on these kids about the testing. Good Luck!!

I too have a daughter in 3rd grade and she will be taking the FCAT this week. We have been telling our daughter that this test is about the things shes has been taught. Take her time because once she starts to read through all the knowledge will come back. It is ok to be nervous but just take her time, read each question COMPLETELY and remember that we are proud of her. A hint that we learned was that if an answer has "always' or "never" in it, that is probably an incorrect answer. Also, answer the questions she knows and that are definately right and go back to the others and make an educated guess. It is better to have an incorrect answer than no answer. And when all else fails, un-do her nerves with humor and act as normal as possibel. GOOD LUCK!!

C., my children are grown and gone. But, I have two great grandsons, who have and are facing FCAT.
Please go to the sites listed below, I think they will be of help to you and your daughter.
Good luck to both of you.



My son is going through the same thing. What I did is have my older son talk to him about the test. He told him that the test wasn't as hard as he thought it was.

You are doing the right thing. There is so much stress put onto a child for FCAT. This year is not as critical a year for her as 4th grade will be. Try to minimize the importance of the test itself and just focus on how proud you are of her with all she has done to prepare for the test. I personally would stop talking about it and working on it for a few days before the exam, just to let her relax. Double check with the facts concerning her promotion to the next grade. Sometimes kids hear information that is false and it really frightens and stresses them even more.
I have been through this with 5 kids already and my daughter is taking the 10th grade FCAT next week. This is the one they need to pass in order to graduate. Talk about stress. But we just do the work and don't really focus on the exam. Experience has shown me that the kids do really well when they are not stressed. I am praying for all the kids taking FCAT next week.

For those who do not pass, there is usually summer school designed to pass, a second chance. Also there is a copy of past test on the web. I think it is with FL dept of education.
I was scared t take my first college exam. I finally figured out that pass or fail ,I'd live. never another scre of test taking. I graduated with a 3.5 and a MEd with a 3.8. There are other sites that have FCAT stuff on it.If she is an A-C student she'll do fine.The worst test I've ever taken was the FL teacher certification test. IT'S VERY HARD TO TEST WHENYOU ARE BUSTING A GUT LAUGHING AT THE QUESTION AND KNOWING OTHERS ARE WILL FAIL IT, iNCLUDING A PRINCIPAL IN jACKSONVILLE.

You know what? Tell her that she's so much ahead of those children whose parents do not have time to help their kids like you do or maybe don't care. So she's that much ahead of that. And it's only another test. It's a process of elimination looking at all the multiple choice. If she studies only the correct answer with the question, then when she gets to the real test, the real answer will pop out over all the multiple A,B,C,D choices. It's only 3rd grade and it's not the end of the world. I'm not sure where you live, city and state, but I'm in DeLeon Springs, fl. Love to meet new friends for lunch

I also have a daughter in 3rd grade, and she is, too, very nervous when it's time for testing. Fortunately, her teacher this year didn't stress too much about testing, and the big FCAT. They do a lot of stuff at school for FCAT, but no pressure what-so-ever. I told my daughter that testing is just so your teacher finds out how much you know and where you need more help. Just remind her that testing is not a big deal, so what if she missed a problem or two? By the way, she will not fail 3rd grade by not passing the FCAT, it is up to the teacher whether she could pass 3rd grade or not. If she's done fine through out the year, the FCAT cannot make her repeat 3rd grade. Hope this helped.

I'm a 3rd grade teacher at home on leave with my 6 month old daughter. My advice to your daughter and what I always tell my students is to just have fun with the passages and enjoy them. If the students allow themselves to get into the stories as opposed to thinking of them as a test, they tend to comprehend better and do quite well. She should also use all of the test-taking strategies her teacher has (I'm sure) been teaching, such as eliminating the answer choices that are obviously wrong and narrowing it down. If the speed at which she reads is an issue, she can rest easier knowing that there is plenty of time given for the amount of questions. You have a wonderful plan to distract her the weekend before, I used to recommend that too. As long as she is well-rested and well-fed before each day of testing, she'll probably surprise herself with how well she does. The FCAT is definitely doable for any average 3rd grader!! I wish you all the best of luck. Remember, just relax and enjoy it and you'll do great!

As a teacher and a mom, don't get me started on the unnecessary stress and other problems caused by the FCAT!!!!
That being said...

Here's the deal with the FCAT... Children do not surprise everyone and fail the FCAT out of the blue and need to be held back. If your daughter is struggling enough with 3rd grade that she needs to repeat it, it has nothing to do with that darn test. Rare is the child who does well (or even just "OK") in school and then completely bombs the FCAT... and rare is the child who is struggling enough in school to consider retaining them who soars on the FCAT. As much as I HATE, HATE, HATE the FCAT, I have to admit it is an accurate assesment in most cases. Let your daughter know that if she freaks out and fails the FCAT, her grades and other paperwork her teacher has kept will help determine if she has to be retained-- not the test alone. Also, my 4th grade son said the 3rd grade FCAT was EXACTLY what he expected-- EXACTLY. So the teachers prepare the kids really well. Ask her-- "when you take the practice tests, do you feel like you have no clue what ANY of the answers are?" Chances are, she'll say that is not the case. Let her know that "average" is a 3, so as long as she knows what a bunch of the answers are, she'll do just fine. Tell her they throw in some hard questions for all the brainiac kids who get a 5 on the test and she is not, by any means, expected to know very single answer. So it's just like taking a spelling or any other test at school- some kids get 100% every time, some miss a few, some bomb it completely. Chances are, she will NOT completely bomb it... but between you and I, if she gets a 1 on the FCAT, she probably isn't prepared for 4th grade and should be retained-- but what are the chances of that?? You know the reality- I don't know your child.

Ahh yes the FCATs what a great idea! Having all these young children so stressed out is such a great way to encourage the love of learning!

I think it goes a long way that you are studying with her already. If your not already, try to also cover test taking skills- time management, to skip or not to skip, educated guessing, etc. Also, you can do a trial run so she can know what to expect, based on how many questions there will be and how long they will have, etc. Saying an hour is not the same as sitting and testing for an hour.

On the Orange County Public Library website they have actual FCAT practice tests available to anyone with a library card.

Lots of rest the night before and a smooth morning with a good breakfast will go a long way. Also be sure to show her you are confident in her abilities and that you love her no matter what, in the end it is just one test. I've noticed kids pick up on our feelings alot. So, no worrying for you either! She has studied, she's ready and she is going to kick some FCAT butt! As I told my son when he asked me if I thought he was going to pass, I said you are going to do sooo well they are going to ask you to write next year's test!

In love and blessings,
Blessed with 4 children- 8b, 5twinb, 3g

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.