Parents often ask me if I can give them any advice to help their students taking tests, both classroom tests and standardized tests. As a Special Education teacher and an experienced test taker myself, I always have strategies that I can give the parents. I have even conducted a workshop on a couple of occasions to help students with test anxiety and to give them some pointers when taking tests. The following are some of those test taking strategies.
1) First and foremost, make sure your student gets plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep can be directly related to doing poorly on tests and school work in general. As adults, we know how we feel at work when we have a lack of sleep.
2) Often times, students are running out the door trying to catch the bus or ride to school. Never skip breakfast, but especially on the morning of an important test. Parents always ask what should their student eat? Experts advise that a breakfast full of protein and balanced with carbs will do the trick. On these mornings, a full breakfast of eggs, toast, and fruit would be the perfect ‘brain’ pick me up to help students do better on the test.
3) Find something that works for you to relax it prior to the test. Breath deep, read a book, or listen to music if that is allowed at your school. Being stressed out and anxious can lead to poor performance and scores on tests.
4) As a parent, don’t pressure your child. Many times parents mean well, but increase the anxiety the child is feeling prior to the test. I always told my own children, do your best and don’t worry about it. One test will not make or break their entire academic careers.
5) When taking the test, always answer questions you absolutely know first. If you have to think too long, skip the question and come back later.
6) If you are not sure about a question, place a question mark or some sort of identifying mark by the question. This is important with timed test. You can get bogged down on one question.
7) Look for cue words such as always , never, and all of the above. If these are options on a multiple choice test, they are usually the correct answer.
8) Go over all question s when you are finished. Answering too quick can of course lead to wrong answers, so always go back and check over them again.
9) I advise students to never check answers more than twice. The more you look at a question, often the more confused you get. If you are still confused about an answer after the second time, leave it as is.
10) If you are unsure about a question, go with your first instinct. This is usually the correct answer.
Hopefully, these tips will help both parents and their students prepare for standardized tests, or any test for that matter. Learning a few strategic test taking strategies can make the difference in test scores.