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Study Tips & Techniques - Test Taking

  Tips Home >> Study Tips >> Study Tips & Techniques - Test Taking


Test Taking Tips for the Students

To be most supportive of their children as they face an array of standardized testing during their school years, parents need to make sure they are appropriate in their own attitudes about test-taking and that they are not placing overt or undue pressure on their children. Often a parent's past experience with testing, especially when bad, will project very negative or worried attitudes that are easily transferable to their child. It is important to deal with testing issues in a positive way because negative reflections from a parent can seriously affect a child's test performance.

Below are a number of test-taking tips and techniques for the student that are shared by the educational professionals and testing experts at to help children perform to their best ability on standardized tests.

1. Pre-test Tips


Whenever possible — and as often as possible -- practice with similar sample tests beforehand to familiarize yourself with the testing formats and directions.

Make certain you are aware of the conditions -- the environment, the setting, the timing, the supplies you are expected to bring (i.e., pencils, calculator, etc.), opportunities for breaks and snack availability — for whatever test you will be taking.

Be aware of how to monitor your emotional reactions such as worry, stress, fear or panic and be armed with techniques to get those feelings under control.

Talk with your peers or with older students to share test-taking strategies — discussing those strategies that work and those that don't.

Don't cram the night before. Pace your studying over the course of days or even weeks (when it is a test for which you can study.) Preparation is key. By preparing over time, you will become more comfortable with the information.

After studying over a period of time, review the material the night before. Relax and eat well at dinner. Don't change your routine because that will affect how you perform.

Get a good night's sleep and start with a good breakfast.

2. During the Test


Read all directions carefully and critically.

Budget your time. Ideally you want to go through the test at least three times: a first pass at what you know easily, a second pass to work through the toughies, and a final check.

Attempt all items on the first pass, but keep in mind your budgeted time per question so you can determine your pace accurately.

Read all items carefully and critically, and read all answers before choosing one, comparing them to the answer you have already formulated in your head.

On difficult questions, underline key words, or try to restate the question in your own words.

Use the process of elimination to your benefit. Look for cues in the question itself or the types of answers given.

Change answers only after thoughtful consideration, not just because you were unsure the first time.

Check your answers against your answer sheet. Erase stray or misleading marks.

Use the test itself to help you get to the answers; sometimes the answer or a cue that triggers your memory is in another question. Use a marking system to know which questions you need to come back to; cross off answers as you eliminate them so you do not have to reread them upon return. Use a question mark for uncertain answers, a dot or frown face for questions on which you had no clue. Be sure to erase stray marks on computer-scored tests.

Double check for careless mistakes, skipped questions, and/or misinterpretation of directions.

Use relaxation techniques such as taking five deep breaths or counting down to 10 if you find yourself becoming tense or freezing.

Guess, especially if there is no penalty for wrong answers. Credit is never given for a blank.

Say to yourself "I am a good test taker." Confidence is half the battle.


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