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{Asked on behalf of a friend}.

Situation:

  • 2 twin boys, 10-13 age range. Previously very closely academically matched and successul. Good relationship with each other all their life.

  • This year, one of them tested into an advanced academic program... but another one scored a couple of points higher and tested into "more advanced" one (meaning they would study separately, and the second one will study harder material). The program is for one subject only, not entire school curriculum.

  • The first one who scored lower took it very hard. From begging parents to figure out how to get him into "more advanced" track (he scored 93 out of required 97, so that's impossible); to even telling his brother that he should NOT attend the more advanced class and instead go to less advanced with him.

What would be a good approach to handle that situation?

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I left the age vague over privacy concerns. –  user3143 Jun 7 at 21:36

2 Answers 2

This is a perfect chance to teach them about variation. It's important to understand that your test scores will vary based on how you're feeling on that particular day; a 93 is only about 4% lower than a 97 and it's unlikely the test is really that sensitive. There may even be the possibility of retesting if the lower-scoring twin doesn't think they did their best.

If, in the end, they aren't able to be in this more advanced class together, it's time to understand that everyone has their own unique skill sets or aptitudes. Let them know that it's likely their twin will feel this way about something else at some point in the future too. It's natural to be competitive, but expect to lose at times.

Honestly, this could be a good opportunity to branch out, study with other people, and get used to being more independent. Just be supportive and don't make them feel bad for being jealous about this. No one likes to lose and competition can be particularly fierce between twins. It will probably blow over.

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Probably the first thing to do is realize that no two people are actually identical. Even if they are twins there will be things that one will excel in that the other won't. Rather than treating them as the same person this is probably a good opportunity to explore something that the other twin is better at.

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