Sound Strategies for Standardized Testing
Below are recommendations, made by teachers and guidance counselors, on how to successfully prepare for and take standardized tests.
General strategies to begin long before a test
Meet with your child’s teacher as often as needed to discuss his or her progress. Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and improve your child’s understanding of schoolwork. Parents and teachers working together benefits students.
Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home.
Give your child a well-rounded diet. A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind.
Provide books and magazines for your child to read at home. By reading new materials, a child learns new words that might appear on a test. Ask your child’s school about a suggested outside reading list or get suggestions from the public library.
Preparation for a specific test
- Make sure that your child is well rested on school days and especially the day of a test. Children who are tired are less able to pay attention in class or to handle the demands of a test.
- Make sure you have No. 2 pencils and erasers in your backpack.
- Talk to your parents about any concerns you may have about the test.
- Continue with your normal daily routine: Eat a good breakfast and relax.
- Think positive
Multiple Choice Questions
- Ask for help if you don't understand the directions.
- Be sure to read the entire question and all answer choices before marking anything.
- If you can't answer a question, do your best then move on.
- Answer the easiest questions first, but make sure to go back and finish those questions you skipped.
- After you have been through all the questions, go back and find questions you have knowledge about and eliminate choices you know are incorrect. If you can eliminate two wrong answers, your chance of choosing the correct answer is greater.
- Find key words or phrases in the question that will help you choose the right answer.
- Don't guess blindly - think about the best answer choice and make it.
- Make sure you understand the question being asked and respond to that question.
- Answer every question - Make the most intelligent choice you can.
- If you finish early, double-check to make sure you have answered all the questions
- If the test requires you to read passages and then answer questions about what you read, read the questions first. Doing this will help you look for what you need while reading.
- When there are several questions about a passage or chart, look for clues in other questions.
- When using scratch paper on a math test, double-check to make sure that you have copied the problem correctly from the test booklet.
- Be sure to line up place values correctly on your scratch paper or the answer will be incorrect.
- If your answer does not match one of the choices, reread the problem, recopy the numbers, and try solving it again.
Using your time wisely
- If any time remains at the end of the testing period, spend it on those questions which you are unsure about.
- As you go through your test, don't change your answers unless you are very uncertain about your first choice. Your first answer is usually right.
- Be neat, but don't spend time obsessing about neatness.
- Don't worry if you run out of time.
- Fill in bubbles fully, write neatly, and erase stray marks.
- Double-check the question number in your test booklet against the answer sheet every few questions to make sure you don't mark the wrong number on your answer sheet.
- If your arms start to get tired during testing, relax your grip to give those muscles a break.
- Don't do arm exercises during testing because this disturbs others.
- Remember - you won't know everything. These tests will have questions designed to challenge the limits of your knowledge at a grade level above your current grade.