The California Standards Test (CST), part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program, begins mid-month.  Students in grades two through eleven take a STAR test. The STAR Program looks at how well schools and students are performing. Students take tests in math, reading, writing, science, and history. Teachers and parents can use test results to improve student learning.

To be sure your youngsters are in optimum test taking shape, below are a few things to bear in mind.

Make sure children get adequate rest.  For most elementary school-aged children, that means lights out by 8:00pm to get the requisite 10-11 hours of sleep.

…sleeping in and skipping breakfast will probably leave you more tired during school than waking up a bit earlier and making sure you eat. That morning munchfest is totally essential for energy — and this is especially key leading up to a test.

Eating healthfully also plays a crucial part in optimum school alertness and readiness, particularly during tests. One nutritional area many people forget about at breakfast is protein, which helps you feel full and satisfied longer.  A favorite nutritionally packed breakfast is oatmeal with fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, raisins, etc.) and nuts added.  I also add a pinch of cinnamon, which may aid in stress reduction.  For additional help, find a weeks worth of healthy breakfasts leading up to test days.

Peppermint has also been shown to stimulate brain activity and improve concentration, so you may want to consider including some (caffeine-free) peppermint iced tea, or one peppermint Lifesaver or Tic Tac in their lunch.  Read about more healthy school snacks.

Get more standardized test taking tips

Practicing for tests will help familiarize students with what to expect and may dispel some anxiety.  Standardized Tests And Reporting (STAR) sample released questions are intended to show the level of knowledge and ability a student must demonstrate to meet state standards. More sample questions with answers are available online through the California Department of Education. Use these practice tests in the months that precede the actual tests.