Test-Taking Strategies


When students are taking tests, they should know some key test-taking strategies. Try these:

Before the test:

  1. Proper amount of sleep—Be sure bedtime is early enough to get a good amount of rest. Sleep is often more important for clear thinking than cramming a lot of information late into the night. Recent research proves this!
  2. Good nutrition—Breakfast is especially important. Include protein to provide staying power through the morning.
  3. Don’t worry. If appropriate study skills (See our free TIPS– Study Habits and A Plan for Studying)  have been followed during the days before the test, a review of important points should allow a student to have confidence that the test will illustrate an understanding of the information.

During the test:

It is very helpful if teachers follow this format when reviewing the items and test results with students. Modeling good test-taking behavior is much more effective than preaching about it.

  1. Read the words carefully, but not necessarily slowly.  Accurate reading of the text information is more important than a quick, careless reading because the student was in a hurry to read the questions at the end of the selection.
  2. Think while reading. Try to understand how one thought leads naturally to the next.
  3. Read each question carefully.
  4. Read ALL of the choices.
  5. Go back into the reading selection if necessary to help think the answer through.
  6. If unsure of an answer, eliminate the obviously bad answer(s), and then choose among the choices which are left. Make a decision on your choice. Do not leave it to come back to later. If the test is timed and answers not marked, these answers are wrong. After thought, choose an answer then and there, and also mark the number on a separate sheet of scratch paper. Come back to these items only if there is extra time.

Be sure to check out our Blog Post: Most Effective Study Practices for some important research-based information. Some of them are surprising!

Check out Reading Spotlight’s Charlotte’s Web Final Exam and The Trumpet of the Swan Final Exam. More than a final exam, it helps children learn how to choose the best answer in a multiple choice test. It can be used effectively, even with younger students who have had the novel read aloud to them.


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