Successful Test Taking Tips for Students

 High stakes standardized tests are a reality of public education today, so it's more important than ever for students to learn to how take tests. It requires practice, self-confidence and technique. 

Preparation Is Key
Suggest that your child utilize the following study tips:

  • List topics to review and check them off as each item is completed.
  • Highlight important facts with a yellow marker.
  • Do practice tests and answer the questions often included at the end of a chapter in textbooks.
  • Use flash cards to review information.
  • Study for several days before a test. Don't cram.
  • Outline chapters.
  • Review notes and teacher's handouts.
  • Look over past tests or quizzes to identify weaknesses and areas that require extra concentration.
  • Find out beforehand the test format: multiple choice, open book, essay or matching.

Build Your Child's Confidence
You can help your child become a successful test-taker by building her self-esteem and providing guidance in these ways:

  • Be available to support and supervise homework efforts.
  • Offer to quiz your child on facts and vocabulary words.
  • Inquire about upcoming quizzes and tests.
  • Enforce reasonable bedtime hours on school nights.
  • Emphasize effort. Do not punish your child for poor grades. Before tests, reassure your child by saying, "Just do your best" or "I know you studied hard." If he does poorly, tell him you're proud of his effort by saying, "I know you tried your best. Next time I'm sure you'll do better."

Taking the Test
Don't be surprised if your child has the jitters on test day. The following test-taking tips will help her stay calm:

  • Be equipped with pens, pencils, etc.
  • Get to class early.
  • Read directions thoroughly.
  • Ask for help if directions are unclear.
  • Answer the easiest questions first.
  • Don't spend too much time on any one question. If you're stuck, go on to another question and return to the difficult one later.
  • Narrow your choices by eliminating the wrong multiple-choice answers first.
  • Read essay questions thoroughly, underline the key words and make a quick outline.
  • Check that answers coincide with question numbers.
  • Leave time for corrections.

Remember, it's your child's overall effort that counts. Help him put test results in perspective by reminding him that, although one test may be important, it is just one measurement of his capabilities and not the last test he is going to take. Children should learn from their mistakes, and develop test-taking strategies to help them prepare, relax and do better next time.

© Parenthood.com, used with permission.

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