National and state standardized tests are just around the corner. I know you don’t want to think about them since we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving, but they will be here before you know it, so you and your child better begin brushing up now. Perhaps your child needs specific help with the writing portion of the SAT. Maybe you’re not familiar with what your state requires as far as testing is concerned. A little research now will make your lives so much easier when test time actually hits. Students with better study methods and strategies score higher on their exams.
Your child may not be a good test taker. What if your child has a phobia about taking tests? How will you handle that? My daughter freaks out when she is being timed. It definitely affects her ability to do well on a test. If you know these issues exist, it is best to tackle them before test time. Begin by making sure your child constantly reviews lessons that are hard to understand or are old and possibly easily forgotten. A short 15 minute daily review is all it takes. Acquaint your child with different test formats–fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, what doesn’t belong… Begin slowly timing your child so they become more comfortable with timed tests. Make sure they understand terminology that will show up on tests such as synonym, antonym, hyperbole, how much altogether, in all, pronoun, which DOESN’T belong… Put information/formulas on a sheet that can be quickly reviewed many times, this makes it easier to keep the key concepts that will be on the test. Remind your child to read the directions twice and to read the questions for the reading passages before reading the passage so they will be familiar with what they should be looking for. Remind your child that there will be information on the test that they probably will not know. That is to be expected. Have your child take short breaks often when studying. Your memory retains the information that you study at the beginning and the end better than what you study in the middle. Make sure your child eats breakfast the day of the test. Having food in your stomach provides energy and helps your child focus, but avoid heavy foods which can make them groggy. Also make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
Tips for Multiple Choice Questions:
~Read the question before you look at the answer.
~ Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers, this way the choices given on the test won’t throw you off or trick you.
~ Eliminate answers you know aren’t right.
~ Read all the choices before choosing your answer.
~ Don’t keep on changing your answer, usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question.
~ In a question with an “All of the above” choice, if you see that at least two correct statements, then “All of the above” is probably the answer.
~ A positive choice is more likely to be true than a negative one.
~ Usually the correct answer is the choice with the most information.
Tips for Essay Questions:
~ Read the directions carefully. Pay close attention to whether you are supposed to answer all the essays or only a specified amount (i.e. “Answer 2 out of the 3 questions).
~ Make sure that you write everything that is asked of you and more. The more details and facts that you write, the higher your grade is going to be.
~Make an outline if you have time.
~ Budget your time, don’t spend the entire test time on one essay.
~ If the question is asking for facts, don’t give your opinion on the topic.
~ Don’t write long introductions and conclusions, the bulk of your time should be spent on answering the question(s) asked.
~ Focus on one main idea per a paragraph.
~ If you have time left at the end, proofread your work and correct any errors.
~ Budget your time. If you have an hour to write 3 essays, spend no more than 20 minutes on each essay, then if you have time left over at the end go back and finish any incomplete essays.
~ If you aren’t sure about an exact date or number, use approximations i.e. “Approximately 5000” or “In the late 17th century.”
~Write legibly. Sloppy writing consistently scores lower marks.
~ If you make a mistake, simply draw a line through it, it is much neater and quicker than erasing it.
Tips for True/False Questions:
~ Usually there are more true answers than false on most tests.
~ If there is no guessing penalty, then guess. You have a 50% chance of getting the right answer.
~ Read through each statement carefully, and pay attention to the qualifiers and keywords.
~ Qualifiers like “never, always, and every mean that the statement must be true all the time. Usually these type of qualifiers lead to a false answer.
~ Qualifiers like “usually, sometimes, and generally” mean that if the statement can be considered true or false depending on the circumstances. Usually these type of qualifiers lead to an answer of true.
~ If any part of the question is false, then the entire statement is false but just because part of a statement is true doesn’t necessarily make the entire statement true.
Tips for Short Answers Questions:
~ Use flashcards, writing the key terms, dates and concepts on the front and the definition, event, and explanations on the back.
~ Try not to leave an answer blank. Show your work/write your thoughts, even if you don’t get the exact answer, partial credit is usually awarded.
~ If you don’t know the answer, come back to it after you finish the rest of the test and make an educated guess. Other parts of the test may give you clues to what the answer may be.
~ Read the question carefully and make sure that you answer everything that it asks for. Some short answer questions have multiple parts.
Tips for Math Questions:
~ Work on practice problems for each topic ranging in levels of difficulty.
~ When practicing, try to solve the problem on your own first then look at the answer or seek help if you are having trouble.
~ Mix up the order of the questions from various topics when you are reviewing so you’ll learn when to use a specific method/formula.
~ Make up a sheet with all the formulas you need to know and memorize all the formulas on the sheet.
~ When you get your exam, write down all the key formulas on the margin of your paper so if you forget them when you’re in the middle of the test you can look back at the formula.
~ Read the directions carefully and don’t forget to answer all parts of the question.
~ Make estimates for your answers… i.e. if you are asked to answer 48 x 12 = ?, you could expect a number around 500, but if you end up with an answer around 5000, you’ll know you did something wrong.
~ Show all your work (especially when partial credit is awarded) and write as legibly as possible.
Even if you know the last answer is wrong, don’t erase your entire work because you may get partial credit by using the correct procedure.
~ Check over your test after you are done with it. If you have time, redo the problem on a separate piece of paper and see if you come up with the same answer the second time around. Look for careless mistakes such as making sure the decimal is in the right place, that you read the directions correctly, that you copied the numbers correctly, that you put a negative sign if it is needed, that your arithmetic is correct and so on.