March 19, 2011

Simple Standardized Test Taking Tips

We have standardized testing coming up.  To prepare, I’ve added some practice tests to our daily routines.  I find these very beneficial.

If you live in a state that requires standardized testing, I imagine you’ve heard the typical advice:

  • Get a good night sleep before the test
  • Eat a good healthy breakfast
  • Don’t put undue pressure regarding the test on your children
  • etc. etc. etc.
  • These are great tips, but did you know you can help your children score better just by giving them a little experience with the practice test format?

    I want to share with you some tips regarding standardized bubble tests specifically.

    Purchase a practice test booklet.

    Introducing your child to the bubble format will help alleviate fear of the unknown.  It will also give you practice material for the following tips.

    Practice correctly filling in the bubbles and also correctly erasing them.

    If your child doesn’t erase correctly, that question will be counted as double answered and will be considered wrong.  If the bubble isn’t filled in correctly it could be counted as blank.  Going over the correct way to mark answers is a huge benefit for your child and will become a habit as they practice.

    Teach your children to read ALL the answers before they mark their test.

    If your everyday curriculum choices don’t include bubble formatted questions, answers like “all the above” or “answers C and D only” probably aren’t the norm. It is a common error for kids to see a correct answer and mark it right away and then move on to the next question.  Pointing out these types of answers can make a huge difference on your child’s score.

    Look for Specific types of questions in the test booklet.

    For example, we are practicing for a reading comprehension section of the test.  Several times we have come across questions like

  • What is another title for this story?
  • These answers typically contain statements about a specific detail in the reading passage and one more overall statement.  The spstandardized testingquoteecific details tend to stick out more than the generalization, making it easy to choose incorrectly.  Simply pointing out the structure of the reading passage helps eliminate those tricky choices.

  • What does this word mean?
  • Typically there are clue words surrounding these vocabulary words.  Often you will have the word “or”.  For example – the skyscraper or tall, multiple story building.  Other times you will have a more detailed explanation of the concept within that same paragraph.

  • From reading this passage we can guess that ….
  • This is one of those questions where your explanations will help greatly.  Often the answers will contain details already mentioned in the passage.  Remember you are guessing about a future event or choice with this type of question.

  • According to the Table or Graph or map…
  • No matter which subject area you are testing on, you can expect to deal with graphs and tables and maps.  With a little exposure, your child can easily answer these.

    Identifying certain types of questions and then making sure your children understand what they are being asked is a great strategy. 

    Much of standardized testing is not about specific knowledge but finding answers within given information. Giving your children tools to attack various types of questions will make them more confident when it comes to taking tests.


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