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.

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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.

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