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Preparing Your Child for Psychological Testing

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Updated October 17, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Typically there is no need to prepare your child for psychological testing. She cannot study for this type of testing nor does she need to review any material in advance.

In fact, for some assessment tools, it is important that your child not have taken or reviewed the test within a certain time frame.

Your child's answers should be natural, not rehearsed, coached or forced. An accurate diagnosis will guide her treatment plan.

What Parents Can Do

You can talk to your child about what to expect on testing day in terms of who will be testing her, approximate time frame, and possible type of tests.

Encourage your child to answer the best that she can. Let her know that she will not be punished for any of her answers, or the results of the evaluation.

On the day of testing follow your child's routine as you normally would. It is important that your child not feel overly tired, hungry, or sick as most psychological assessments are very sensitive to small changes in thinking and emotions. If you feel that your child is having an "off day," let the testing psychologist know before the testing begins.

It is normal for your child to feel anxious about the test, but if you notice that she seems disproportionately anxious or upset it is important to let the psychologist know about that as well.

Consult with your child before scheduling the test and avoid times when you know that your child may have additional stresses to cope with (math quiz, team try-outs, late night events, etc.)

Providing your child with encouragement to do her best will give her with the support she needs during her psychological testing. Also, check in after the testing to see how she is feeling -- communication is a key part of your child's recovery from depression.


Sources:

Gary Groth-Marnat. The Handbook of Psychological Assessments, Fourth Edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.

Psychological Evaluations: What Every Parent Should Know. National Association of School Psychologists. Accessed: October 29, 2010. http://www.spannj.org/pti/Psychological_evaluations.pdf

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