Whether you teach English, math, or any other subject, you have to give tests – and to succeed in your class, students need to get comfortable taking them. How can you help students become better test-takers? Here are eight tips to share with them:
Work on getting “in the zone.” Every classroom has distractions, but students must learn how to tune them out. This takes some trial and error, but encourage your students to work on figuring out what works for them.
Jot down formulas or key information. It’s a good idea for students to write down any formulas or quick mnemonic devices they’ve memorized in the margins of their tests once you say “Begin.”
Become skilled at pacing. One of the simplest tips you can share with your students is how to pace themselves. Students should estimate the minutes per question (and section) they can spend and do this quick calculation before starting any test.
Mark the tough questions. Once students have a time budget in mind, they can keep themselves on track. That means they should circle any difficult questions and come back to them rather than waste time struggling.
Read the directions. Students should always remember that reading directions is a must—on any test or assignment.
Read the questions carefully. Doing so is the best way to eliminate obvious wrong answers and use time efficiently.
Practice stress management. Tests can be very stressful for some students. Teach your students simple strategies to calm down and clear their heads, like deep breathing, stretching/standing, and positive visualization techniques.
Allow for time at the end to review. It’s always good practice for students to review tests when finished to ensure that no questions were overlooked and to double-check or complete any problems about which they weren’t certain initially.
Remind your students of these tips and strategies throughout the school year. These practices will help them improve their test-taking abilities and confidence!