Tips for Test Time
For parents… Suggestions for supporting your student at test time
You want your child to do his best on important tests, and you can help. Here are a few suggestions on ways to support your child during test time:
- Keep to your regular routine. Experts say that dramatic shifts from a child’s routine can have a negative impact on performance. That’s especially true for younger students who take comfort in regular bedtime rituals and meal routines.
- Help your child prepare for testing with a good night’s sleep, a nutritious breakfast, and a positive attitude.
- Encourage your child to do her best. Encouraging words and a positive attitude about your child’s test performance will go a long way toward calming test jitters. If you are anxious about your child’s performance, you may send the message that you think she is not capable or is unprepared to do well.
- Make sure your child is in attendance and on time on test days. Attendance is important every school day, but especially on test days when students get the opportunity to “show what they know.”
- After the test, let your child know that you appreciate that he did his best. Your encouragement will help your child gain confidence and encourage his or her best work.
- Contact your child’s teacher if special circumstances may have affected test performance. A child’s or parent’s illness or a family crisis may keep a student from doing her best work on a test. Communicate your concerns to your child’s teacher.
- Be familiar with the testing schedule for your child’s grade. Check the school system website or ask your child’s teacher for the testing calendar for this school year. Remember that, while days have been set aside for test administration, only a small amount of time— ranging from as little as one hour up to two hours— is actually spent testing on a given day.
For students… Test-taking tips
Before the test…
- Get plenty of rest the night before.
- Eat a nutritious breakfast before the test. Avoid high sugar foods.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Arrive to school on time. You will feel more relaxed if you’re not rushed, so wake up a few minutes early.
- Relax. You’ll do better if you don’t worry. Try to remember that the results of tests help your teachers plan for your education. It’s your time to “show what you know.”
- If you are “stressed out” about your test, here are four stress-busting strategies:
- Slow down and relax;
- Take slow, deep breaths;
- Close your eyes and think positive thoughts; and
- Take a moment to prepare for the test. Be sure you have sharp pencils, a good eraser, and blank scratch paper.
During the test…
- Always listen and follow the directions. Ask questions about any directions that are unclear.
- Make sure to mark your answers in the right place on your answer sheet. Darken the circles completely.
- Take your time and read carefully.
- Read all written directions carefully before you begin.
- Read the entire question or story before you answer.
- On multiple-choice questions, read all your answer choices before selecting your answer. If you are not sure, eliminate answers that you know are wrong before you make a guess. Remember, there’s no penalty for guessing!
- Think about your answers. Don’t second-guess your answers. Your first answer often is the right answer.
When you are finished with the test…
- If you have time, go back and review your answers.
- Check that you have answered every question. Guessing is OK if you don’t know the answer, but eliminate wrong answers first.
- If you find a mistake, erase completely and carefully, and bubble in the correct answer.
- Check for any stray marks and erase them.
Important test words that you need to know…
To do your best work, you need to make sure you understand the test question. Here are important terms you need to know:
- Synonyms— Words that have similar meaning
- Antonyms— Words that have opposite meaning
- Estimate— Make an approximate calculation
- Infer— Draw a conclusion using the information you are offered
- Explain your answer— Write a complete description of the way you got your answer.