TEST TAKING STRATEGIES
- Get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast.
- Relax. Take a deep breath.
- Listen to the teacher’s directions.
- Read all directions carefully.
- Budget time to answer all questions.
- Answer the questions you know first.
- Mark all questions you need to come back to.
- Guess if you don’t know.
- Change answers only if you are sure they are wrong.
- Take your time…IT IS NOT A RACE
- Use all time allowed. Check over answers and re-read directions.
- Read questions carefully. Watch for phrases like “which is not…” and “…Which is incorrect.”
- Read through the entire question, think of the answer, then read all of the possible answers
- Cross out the answers you know are wrong. Make a logical guess if you don’t know the answer.
1. Read the statement carefully. If any part of it is untrue, the answer is false.
2. Statements which include the words all, never, no one, and always are often false.
- Read all of the questions. Save the hardest for last. Number the questions in the order you plan to answer them.
- Underline key words which give you clues as to how to answer. Explain, define, compare, contrast, list, describe, and give the reasons are words telling you what to do.
- Quickly outline your answers. Restate the question in your first sentence and briefly list the points you will cover. Use transitions, and explain each point using examples if you can. Finally, restate your main points in a concluding paragraph. Keep your answers simple and concise.
- While writing, re-read the question. Are you sticking to the question and answering all of its parts.
- allow more time for harder questions and those worth the most points.]
- Be as neat as possible. If you make a mistake, draw a line through the incorrect word(s) and continue.
- Read the answer list first to know all the possible answers.
- See if the columns have the same number of items. You might use an item twice or not at all.
- If the items are to be used only once, mark them when used so you don’t get confused.
Test Anxiety Relaxation
Stop, Drop, and Roll Technique. The moment a student physically feels the "fire" of anxiety and stress, begin the student should stop, put their pencils down, and place their hands on their desks, while concentrating on the coolness of the surface; drop their heads forward; and roll their heads gently while taking three deep breaths. (try practicing while classical music is playing in the background)
Tips for Students
Practice the neutral tool: When you have uncomfortable feelings about whether you will do well on the test, practice the neutral tool. It’s important to catch negative mind loops that reinforce self-doubt or uncomfortable feelings. Every time you catch a negative thought repeating itself, stop the loop and practice going to neutral. Start by focusing on the area around your heart. This helps to take the focus off the mind loop. Then breathe deeply. Breathe as if your breath is flowing in and out through the center of your chest. Breathe quietly and naturally, four-five seconds on the in-breath, and four-five seconds on the out-breath. While you’re breathing, try and find an attitude of calmness about the situation. Do this in the days leading up to the test, right before and during the test.
Address the what-if questions: A lot of times before we have to do something like take a test, much of the anxiety we feel is a build-up from negative “what-if’” thoughts. What if I fail, what if I can’t remember anything, or what if I run out of time. Try writing a what-if question that is positive and can help you take the big deal out of the situation and begin to see things in a different way. Examples of these kinds of questions are, “What if I can remember more than I think I can?” “What if I can feel calmer than I think I can?”
Think good thoughts: Science is showing that good feelings like appreciation can actually help your brain work better. When you feel nervous or anxious, try this. You can do it as many times as you need to or want to. Remember something that makes you feel good. Maybe it is your pet or how you felt when you got a big hug from your mom, or how you felt after a super fun day at the amusement park with your friends. After you remember how you felt, hold that feeling. Pretend you are holding it in your heart. Let yourself feel that feeling for 10-20 seconds or more. It’s important to let yourself really feel that good feeling all over again. Practice this tool right before the big test.
Get enough sleep: Big tests require a lot of energy and stamina to be able to focus for several hours. Make sure you get at least eight-10 hours of sleep the night before the test.
Have fun: Do something fun the night before to take your mind off the test, like see a movie, play a board game with your family or participate in a sports activity. That way your mind and emotions are more relaxed in the time leading up to the test.
Eat a hearty breakfast: The brain needs a lot of energy to maintain focus on a big test for several hours. Eat a hearty and healthy breakfast, including complex carbohydrates and protein to make your energy last as long as possible. Foods such as eggs, cereal and whole-wheat toast help energize your brain to think more clearly and much longer compared with the fast-disappearing bolt of energy from drinking a soda pop or eating a cookie for breakfast. For a snack food, bring simple foods such as peanut butter and crackers, cheese and crackers or a burrito to sustain energy until lunch.
Practicing these tools in advance of and during a test can help students limit test anxiety and perform even better on their school work.
How to Be a Successful Student
q Use an assignment notebook (planners).
q Use three-ring notebooks for class notes.
q Use folders for schoolwork.
q Have phone numbers for classmates.
q Keep your locker and backpack neat.
q Get organized before you go to bed.
Manage Your Time Well
q Use class time to get work done.
q Create your own study plan.
q Prepare for interruptions that could ruin study time.
Be Successful in the Classroom
q Be in school, on time, every day.
q Learn how to adapt to different teachers.
q Be prepared for each class.
q Sit in front of the class if possible.
q Be aware of your body language.
q Always do your homework.
q Participate in class.
q Be a good group member (get along with classmates).
q Treat others with courtesy and respect.
q Involve your parents.
Take Good Notes
q Be an active listener (you hear, think about, and try to understand what’s being said).
q Take notes to help you pay attention.
q Recognize important information (highlight in notes).
q Take notes that are easy to read (skip lines, use only one side of paper, use symbols, and use pencil).
q Go over notes as soon as possible after class (reread &/or rewrite).
q Get copies of class notes if absent (your responsibility).
How to Read a Textbook
q Scan by reading subtitles, words in bold & italic print, summaries, charts, & review questions.
q Read with a purpose by turning each subtitle into a question.
q Review by repeating the scanning process to check your comprehension (repeat again a day or two later).
q Find a good place to study (comfortable, well lit, quiet, and has all necessary materials).
q Get started.
q Know your learning style (do you learn by seeing, hearing, or doing).
q Organize your study time.
q Know how to study for tests.
q Use tricks when making a presentation or speech (use props, show enthusiasm and energy, make eye contact).
How to Study For Tests
q Know what material to study.
q Pay particular attention in class the day before a test.
q Have all reading done ahead of time.
q Know answers to all textbook review questions and definitions of all boldface and italic words.
q Study review sheet until you know everything on it, then use it to come up with questions you think might be on the test.
q Teach material to yourself in front of a mirror.
q Review often and out loud.
q Use index cards and carry them with you so you can go over them as often as possible.
q Go over information right before sleep, your brain commits it to memory while you’re sleeping.
q Use acronyms to help memorize.
q Use the first letter of each word you want to remember to make a silly, ridiculous sentence.
q Use lists & diagrams to group related information.
Use Test-Taking Strategies
q Get off to a good start (have everything you need, relax, as soon as you get your test write down anything you want to remember).
q Develop a plan by quickly looking over the entire test.
q Mark the questions that you want to return to,
q Increase your odds on multiple-choice tests (think of answer before you read choices, eliminate incorrect choices, read all answer choices).
q Look for key words in True/False questions (statements with always, never, every, all & none are usually false, statements with usually, often, sometimes, most, & many are usually TRUE).
q Know how to approach essay questions.
q Improve your math test scores (before solving try to estimate, draw a picture, come back to ones you have difficulty with, show all work).
q Be prepared for open book tests (highlight notes, write down all information you need to know on paper, bookmark text).
q Check all answers.
q Go over all returned tests and find correct answers for missed items.