Test Taking Strategies


Preparing/or Tests
  • Maintain good study habits: Do your class work
  • Have a clear-understanding ofhomework assignments before leaving class.
  • Keep a record of assignments received and completed
  • Make a study schedule and follow it
  • Tell yourparerrts about schoolwork andhomewotk.
  • Turn in homework on time,
  • Get make-up assignments when retuming from an absence.
  • See teachers for additional help.
    • Seek and use past homework assignments, class notes, and available reviewmateria1s.
    • Follow directions.
    • Find out when tests will be given out.
    • Get a good nights rest and eat a normal breakfast before testing.
During Tests
  • Read and pay careful attention to all directions.
  • Read each passage and accompanying questions.
  • Read every possible answer- the best one could be last
  • Read and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test
  • Reread, when necessary, the parts of a passage needed for selecting the correct answer.
  • Don't expect to find a pattern in the positions of the correct answers.
  • Don't make uneducated guesses. Try to get the correct answer by reasoning and eliminating
    \VIUIlg answers.
  • Decide exactly what the question is asking; one response is clearly best
  • Don't spend too much time on anyone question
  • Skip difficult questions until all other questions have been answered On scrap paper, keep a record of1he unanswered items to return to, if time permits,
  • Make sure to record the answer in the correct place on the answer sheet.
  • Only change an answer if you are sure the first one you picked was \VIUIlg. Be sure to completely erase changed answers.
  • Work as rapidly as possible with accuracy.
  • After completion of the test, use any remaining time to check your answers.
  • Keep a good attitude. Think positively!

After Tests
  • Examine your test scores; ask: the teacher to explain your test scores if needed.
  • Congratulate yourself on identified areas of strength.
  • Identify areas of weakness which you will want to improve for a better performance next time.
  • Ask your teacher to suggest areas of study that will help you perform better on the next test.

Students may experience anxiety about tests and may experience heightened anxiety before a testing
situation. A certain degree of test anxiety is nonnal and may help students prepare more effectively, workmore efficiently, and remain focused during testing. Too much anxiety, however, can negatively affect performance. The following strategies may assist students, parents, and teachers in
reducing test anxiety.

Student Strategies for Reducing Test/Anxiety
  • Share your feelings of anxiety with parents and teachers.
  • Think of the test as an opportunity to show what you know.
  • Review homework and materials which pertain to the test topics.
  • Relax, breathe deeply and stay focused on the test
  • Remember the test is only one way your academic performance is measured.

Preparing/or Testing
  • Note test dates on your home calendar; schedule appointments on non-testing days.
  • Encournge your child to take responsibility for homework and class study.
  • Help you child leam how to :find information independently.
  • Praise your child for work done well.
  • Encournge your child to ask questions at home and in class.
  • Get to know your child's teachers.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Confer with teachers on a regular basis for progress reports.
  • Gather available test preparation materials.
  • Assure your child knows that you value a good education.
Testing Day
  • See that your child is rested and eats breakfast
  • See that your child arrives at school on time and is relaxed.
  • Encourage your child to do the best work possible.
  • Do not send your child to school ifillness is apparent
  • Do not remove your child from school on test days for appointments.
After Testing
  • Examine all test reports senthome.
  • Determine areas of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Praise your child's testing strengths and make a plan to address identified weaknesses.
  • See your child's principal, counselor orteacher if additional information is required.

Students may experience anxiety about tests and may experience heightened anxiety before a testing situation. A certain degree of test anxiety is normal and may help students prepare more effectively, work more efficiently, and remain focused during testing. Too much anxiety, however, can negatively affect performance. The following strategies may assist students, parents, and teachers in reducing test anxiety.

Parent Strategies for Reducing Test Anxiety
  • Discuss the test openly and in a positive way.
  • Have realistic expectations of your child's performance while encouraging his/her best efforts.
  • Emphasize that the test is only one measure of academic perfonnance.
  • Emphasize that test scores do not determine a persons worth.


Before Test Administration
  • Notify students of the test dates in advance.
  • Explain the pUrpOSeS for testing.
  • Create an uncluttered testing environment
  • Use a variety of test formats during the school year.
  • Become familiar with tbe materials and procedures to be used with the tests.
  • Identify which students may need and/or be eligible for test accommodations.
  • Read the Test Administration Manual carefully for instructions and information.
  • When pre-coding student-specific data on answer documents, be sure to read and follow coding instructions completely and carefully.
  • Encourage all students to be present on test dates.
During Test Administration
  • Adhere to time limits specified for tests.
  • Read carefully the directions to the students.
  • Expect every studentto read all test content material without assistance mess otherwise noted in the Test Administration Manual.
  • Do not read fhe test, mess specially instructed to do so in State manuals or for student test accommodations.
  • Monitor to ensure1hat students begin making answers in the proper area of the answer sheet
  • Anticipate and eliminate test disruptions.
  • Make sure students work independently.
After Test Administration
  • Collect and account for all test materials.
  • Assure student demographic information on the answer documents is marked accurately.
  • Document any absent students and arrange for them to make-up tests, if possible.
  • Adhere to all test retmn instructions.
  • Develop a plan to modify instructional strategies to address any identified test weaknesses.
Last Taking Strategies

During the Test

1. Get to the test site early so you can select a seat, organize YOllI materials, and get relaxed,
Be prepared with pencils, paper, calculator, books (If appropriate), etc.

2. Get the big picture. Survey the entire test before you answer any 'questions. This will help you to get an overview of what's expected and to strategize how you will take the test.

3. Take a few deep breaths and to relax tense muscles, Repeat throughout the test This process will help you to stay relaxed and to make more energy available for remembering, thinking, and writing. .

4. Read clirections carefully. Ask questions if you don't understand or need clarification,

5. Do a quick "mind dump" of information you don't want to forget Write it down. on scrap paper or in the margin.

6. Answer the easiest questions first, to help yourself calm down. Matching questions are often good to start with because they provide a reminder of important terms and definitions.

7. Use good strategies for answering multiple choice and other objective questions.
  • Look for the central idea of each question. What is the main point?
  • Statements that begin with always, never, none, except, most, or least-are probably NOT the answer. Underline these or other key words if you are allowed to write on the test paper.
  • Try to supply your own answer before choosing an alternative listed on the test
  • Mark an answer for every question.
  • If you have to guess:
    • The length of choices can be a clue. Choose the longest.
    • If two choices are similar, choose neither.
    • If two choices are opposites, choose one of them.
    • The most general altemative is usually the right answer.
8. When answering essay questions, remember that the objective is to demonstrate how well you can explain and support an idea, not just what you know. Keep-the following in mind:
  • Read over all the essay questions before you start to write. Underline key words like define, compare, explain, etc.
  • Think before you write. Remember, a good answer:
  • Starts with a direct response to the question.
  • Mentions the topics or areas described in the question.
  • Provides specific as well as general information.
  • Uses the technical vocabulary of the course.
  • Then map or outline the main points you want to make, determine the order in which you want to write your points, determine the support you want to add, then write.
  • Write legibly.Leave some space so you can add to your answer, later.
  • Proofread your essay. Cheek for grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. This often adds points! . .. -
9. When problem solving, ask yourself:
  • What am I being asked to find?
  • What do I need to know in order to find the answer?
  • What information has been provided that will help me to find the answer?
  • How can I break: the problem down into parts? What steps should I follow to solve the problem? .
  • Does the answer make sense? Does it cover the whole problem?
10. Keep an eye on the clock. Make sure you'll have time to complete the test sections_with the highest value, if not the entire test

Adapted from Buck County Community College (2/26/2013)

Practice Test:

Army website ( ACT modules) www.March2success.com

ACT Question of the Day www.actstudent.org/qotd

ACT Online Prep www.actstudent.org/onlineprep/index.html