Your Child Failed a Test, Now What?

    Posted by Sarah Rutzler on November 10, 2017

     Remember these 6 tips to help your child improve on their next testParents try really hard when it comes to helping their child succeed in school. They help them study, get them a tutor, and enroll them in after school programs, but sometimes even after all the additional help, a failure can approach. You start to wonder “what happened?” or “where did I or my child go wrong?” Depending on what type of test, such as a state-wide test, an SAT score, or simply a bad grade on a math test, your reaction might vary. It does not matter the type of test. As parents, what you have to remember is these 6 things.

    Do not get mad at them

    Sometimes a parent’s initial reaction is anger to a bad grade, but you cannot change what has already happened: the failing test grade. It is important to move forward with positive and constructive support. You can express how the grade is unacceptable, but rather than lecture them, discuss how they will improve for next time. Harshly ridiculing your child can lead to raised stress levels during future exams. This then can result in your child doing poorly as testing stress can create problems with recalling information and problem solving. Always remind them “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”

    Do not compare them to other students or children

    Sometimes it can be tempting to compare them to a successful student you know of or even their brother or sister, but this cannot be done. Every child is different and demonstrates their strengths and weaknesses in different ways. Comparing them to other children will only upset them more and make them lose confidence in themselves.

    Give them the “try again” mentality

    There’s a lot to take into consideration for the “try again” mentality. As a parent, you have to think: “How long did they study? Was the approach they were using not working?” “Is there another way I can help?” If your child is enrolled in an after school program or has a tutor, maybe discuss with the person in charge about different methods to try. Remind your child that keeping his/her’s head up is important and trying again will only make them stronger.

    Help them develop better study habits

    Maybe the study technique or routine your child is using is not working for them, or maybe they are studying too much. Make sure your child is balancing school, leisure, and family time. It is important for them to absorb and learn, but it is also important for them to go and play outside to burn off some steam. After sitting in a classroom all day for 6 hours, unwinding time is very crucial. Make sure your child is eating a snack before homework or studying because food helps fuel the brain. Lastly, implement a schedule. Schedules and routines are important because routines give children a sense of safety and security, and help them develop self-discipline. Inconsistent schedules can also create emotional anxiety, which can be shown in their schoolwork and persona at school.

    Track their progress for next time

    After failure, it is important to note where the exact “failure” was. This should be noted with success too. Target their strengths and weakness on the test. Go over the test and see where they did really well and see where they plummeted. Give them tips on how they can succeed next time in the weaker areas and praise them on the parts they did really well in. This will help you know where to focus your attention for next time.

    Let them own their failure/ mistakes

    I know it is in our nature to want to coddle our child when he/she is upset, but it is important to let he/she know where they went wrong. I am not saying to point blame; I am simply saying to let them know where they messed up and that it can be fixable. Also, failure in itself is important. No one succeeds at everything they do all of the time. They fail occasionally. Teaching your child that failing from time to time is a normal part of life can help them to develop important skills. Receiving a bad test grade is a wake up call for your child. Failing and learning to deal with that failure appropriately can help your child to do better the next time around.


    Evans, Meg. "Parents: What to Say to Your Kids When They Have Failed Their Exams." Tutorhub Blog. 07 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Nov. 2017.

    Lui, Joel. "12 Tips for Parents When Your Child Don't Do Well For Their Exams." Bright Culture. 25 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 Nov. 2017.

    "Why Kids Need Routines." Aha! Parenting. Web. 02 Nov. 2017.


    Topics: Study Habits for Children, Improved Grades, Failing Student

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