Test Taking Tips
1) Before the test
Preparation for tests begins with good school attendance and good study habits plus plenty of good nutrition, exercise and rest. When students attend every day, they receive the instruction that will be tested, they get an opportunity to practice new skills and ask the teachers for help when they don’t understand. It is also important that they learn to be organized about their work. Having a homework folder where all “in-coming” assignments are kept on one side of the folder and all “ out-going” assignments are kept on the other side, helps save students from the frustration of not being able to find assignments to turn in. It also helps to have a monthly calendar to keep track of when assignments, tests, reports, etc. are due. At a glance, students and parents will know when to start studying for an up-coming test and not wait until the night before.
2) Studying for tests
It is best to start several days before the actual test. Start reviewing notes, study guides provided by the teacher, chapter or unit practice sheets, and the textbook. If students study a little each day, they can relax and remember the important information more easily. Studying in shorter spurts really helps retention of information. If a student learns best orally, ask them the questions out loud. If a student learns best by writing and seeing, have them write their answers down. Some students even learn best by drawing pictures and labeling as they explain their answers to you. If particular words, for instance, seem difficult for the student to remember, think of a creative or funny “trigger” that will help them remember. Rest and positive reinforcement are the last things before sending them off to take the test. “You have really studied; I know you will do your best.”
3) Taking Tests
Listen to the teacher’s directions. Be sure to follow those directions. Skim over the whole test first to get a feel for the questions. Sometimes it is best to answer all the easy questions first. Then the student is sure of getting credit for those answers. Then spend more time on the harder questions. If the student really has no idea of an answer, skip that one and come back to it later. Sometimes the words in another question will trigger a memory. For some questions, if an answer is not obvious, students can eliminate some answers and then make the best choice. If students finish before the test time is over, be sure to read over all answers, and check work. Many times, mistakes can be caught and corrected. When the test is over, it is important to focus on seeing the test as a measure of understanding and progress. If a student studies and does well, they know they did their best and are ready for what comes next. If a student studies and still does not do well, then that is an indication that the student needs more help in that skill. Tests are tools to help children learn and to help teachers and parents assess progress. Students can learn the skill of test taking and that will help enhance their academic performance.