Features 5/2/13

Simple strategies can help students do better on tests

By Nicole Eberhart
Roar Features Editor

It’s the end of the year, which means lots of testing is coming up. Some of these tests may be associated with state standards and Advanced Placement programs.

Some of the do’s for testing are as follows

• Make sure you have eaten well on test days. Studies suggest that good nutrition is related to improved attention and concentration.

• Help yourself by encouraging a good night’s rest before exams. Kids who are tired will have difficulty focusing on their work.

• Make the morning of test days pleasant. Stress will impair your ability to perform your best.

• Dress comfortably, perhaps in layers, so that you are able to adjust to the temperature in the gym.

• Ensure that you make it to school on time so that you do not miss any instructions and are allowed ample time to settle in and relax before the test begins.

Some don’ts are as follows:

• Don’t schedule dental or doctor appointments for testing days.

• Don’t be too anxious about your test scores. Although it is important to know that the tests should be taken seriously, it is also important not to increase test-taking anxiety.

Some test taking strategies are as follows:

• Review the whole test before you begin to determine how many questions there are on each section. Then budget your time accordingly so that you have enough time on the questions that might require more time to complete.

• Listen closely to the test proctor’s instructions. Read any written instructions very carefully.

• Never assume that you know what they say. Answer every question. Unless there is a penalty for wrong answers, it can’t hurt to guess.

•  Identify key words and underline them. This will help you focus on the most important aspects of the question.

• Rephrase difficult questions. It may help you to understand a question if you rewrite it in your own words, but be careful not to change the meaning of the question.

• Use all of the time that you are given. If you finish early, use that time to go over your answers.

• Read each question carefully. Many wrong responses occur, because students fail to read the entire question. Often, wrong responses are written with that in mind.

• Try to come up with the answer on your own before reading the possible answers. Then check to see if your response is among the possible answers.

• Eliminate any answers that you know are wrong. Read all choices before choosing your final answer.

• Don’t change your initial answer unless you have a very good reason. Studies suggest that most of the time, your first choice is correct.

• Don’t get stuck on one question. Skip the question, mark it with an “X” and come back to it later.

• Be sure to leave that line un-bubbled on your answer sheet until you come back to it.  Use a ruler or folded piece of colored paper to guide you as you bubble in your responses. Students often miss questions, because they did not bubble their response

on the correct line.

• Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test, and try to stay calm. If you start to feel nervous, take a few deep breaths to relax.

These tips go for all types of testing: Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), ACT, STAR/CST and AP.

Additionally, seniors are currently taking college placement tests in math and English, and the same strategies will apply.


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