Teaching students test-taking strategies can be controversial. Up until recently, it was rare that kids were shown how to take or study for a test. However, research has shown that students will score better on a test when the have test-taking tips to follow. Therefore, many teachers have started to integrate test-taking strategies into course content. In some schools, it has even been included as a genre study in literacy.
Whether you agree or disagree with high stakes testing, testing will most likely be part of your students’ lives. Therefore, whether it’s in a current school setting or a future work setting, testing may be in their future. Why not add some test-taking strategies?
Top 5 Test-Taking Strategies That Work
- Pacing: Teach students the importance of pacing themselves so they don’t spend too much time on a single question. Be sure you review with them how long 10 minutes really is. We all sometimes lose track of time, so making kids aware of time periods can be beneficial.
- Point Values Rule: Point out to students that some questions are weighed more heavily and can influence their grades more heavily.
- Read Through the Test First: Give it a “once over”. Teach kids to give the test or a certain section a “once over”. That means to look over the section of the entire test to get an idea of what’s on it. Encourage them to answer the questions they are sure of before they go back to complete the rest of the questions. Remind them that on tests with sections, it is common that students CANNOT go back to finish incomplete sections once they have moved onto another sections.
- Proofread: Tell students to proofread their test before they turn it into the teacher if time permits. Reviewing answers can give them the opportunity to change an answer or add details. Very often kids, especially young learners, think the first one to turn in the test does the best. Rushing sometimes causes careless errors.
- Outline Key Points: Teach kids to create a quick outline with key points prior to starting an essay. This strategy helps keep students on track. It also helps reduce test anxiety.
The best thing about teaching test-taking strategies is that they can be used throughout a child’s school career and beyond. Reviewing and reinforcing the strategies throughout the year will help cement the strategies into everyday learning. This will result in less stress when “spring testing” arrives.