5 Secrets For Standardized Testing Success

5 secrets for standardized testing success

Yes, it’s here once again! Standardized testing time in Tennessee. You can hear the collective groans around the state this week as parents, teachers, and kids feel the pressure of test-taking.

How do you prepare your kids for doing their best when they face any kind of exam, presentation, or project? I have a few tried-and-true tools that I always pull out during standardized testing week and anytime that the kids need an extra “boost” to perform at optimal level.


We all know that sleep is important, but actually getting the kids to bed and to sleep can be another story. We work hard to make sure the kids get a good night’s sleep two nights before the first day of testing. Being caught up on sleep a day prior helps them have a healthier sleep routine when it’s bedtime the night before.


We strive to have balanced meals all the time, but during testing week, I’m super-aware of what the kids eat. We keep sugar to a minimum, and load up on the protein, fresh fruits, and veggies. Breakfast each day is heavy on protein—usually scrambled eggs and bacon—with a frozen fruit smoothie. I make mine with a superfood juice supplement called Ningxia Red® from Young Living. The entire family loves this smoothie. Add one drop of an essential oil gives even more health benefits and cognitive support. Here’s my recipe:

Ningxia Red® and Fruit Smoothie

  • 4 ozs. Ningxia Red®
  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Unsweetened almond milk (or juice) – about 2 cups
  • Stress Away™* essential oil (or oil of your choice)

Fill the bottom of the blender with Ningxia Red®. Pour in frozen fruit. Fill with unsweetened almond milk until the liquid is over the top of the fruit. (You may also use a fruit juice.) Add 1 drop of Stress Away™* essential oil blend. Blend and stir. Makes 3-4 servings, depending on how much you pour.

*Only ingest essential oils that are 100% pure, therapeutic grade, and generally regarded as safe for ingestion. I only use and recommend Young Living essential oils.


When the kids are home, it’s down time. I encourage them to play outside and ride bikes. My daughter enjoys playing her flute or reading a book for pleasure. We will allow some screen time but limit it. As a family, we’ll only watch funny TV shows—nothing suspenseful or scary. We keep extracurricular activities going, but we do not stay out late at the dance studio or ball park during testing week. In fact, this week we turned an opportunity for my daughter to babysit a couple of neighbor kids. Ordinarily, I would have allowed her bedtime to slide. But not this week. The idea here is to maintain a relaxed routine with as few demands and “add-ons” as possible.

Essential Oils

Using essential oils is the norm for everyday in our house, but my kids have especially come to expect certain oils for test week. We use Clarity™ blend, which my sons like to call their “concentrating oil.” I like to dab a drop on each wrist. I tell the kids when they are taking the test if they feel stuck or a little sluggish, to put their elbows on the desk and cradle their face in their hands. Take a big inhale of the oil on their wrists. Here’s the official description from the Young Living website:

Clarity™ promotes a clear mind and alertness. It contains stimulating oils including peppermint and rosemary, which have been used for many years to promote mental sharpness. A study performed by Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increased the mental accuracy of students by 28 percent. Clarity can also be used to help restore mental alertness or wakefulness when you are experiencing fatigue or drowsiness.

During test week, I’ll also diffuse peppermint in the mornings before school to help those sleepy heads wake up and I’ll diffuse lavender at bedtime to help everyone settle down. And if anyone is especially worked up with test anxiety, I’ll put Stress Away™ on the bottoms of their feet, both at bedtime and before they walk out the door.

(If you’d like to get started using Young Living essential oils with your family, you can find out more information here.)


I couldn’t close this blog post without mentioning the most important tool of all—prayer. We pray with the kids and for them specifically about the tests. We pray that the Lord would help them remember what they’ve learned, help keep anxiety away, and help them take their time on the tests. We thank God in prayer at the end of the testing days and for his helping them through.

What are your best tips for helping your kids succeed with standardized testing?

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