Late-night studying, exhausting memorization, sleep deprivation; any of this sound familiar from when you were in school? Test prep and testing can be draining and stressful for students. Whether a basic vocabulary test or a major year-end assessment, it’s important for students to have the emotional support and study strategies they need in order to perform well. I believe a few simple test-taking strategies, combined with a positive and engaged teacher, can make all the difference.
In the few days leading up to a test or an assessment, create a checklist to help ensure your students have all the tools necessary to confidently prepare. I know my checklists help me keep everything organized and give me comfort, knowing that I’m doing all I can for my students, even when my classroom gets crazy. Here is my simple Test Prep Checklist:
Checklist for Test Prep
☐ Students understand the format of test questions.
☐ Students have strategies for answering each test question format.
☐ Students know the learning targets that will be covered on the test.
☐ Students recognize the learning targets they have mastered.
☐ Students recognize the learning targets they still need to review.
☐ Students have additional opportunities for review, especially for learning targets
they still need to master. See below!
☐ Students have tools for studying, and know how to use them (such as flashcards,
online quizzes, reviewing feedback on previous quizzes/tests, etc.).
I also have my students create their own Test Prep Checklist. This helps them organize their thoughts (just like it does for me) and pinpoint exactly what they need to work on going into an exam. I’ve noticed they have a lot more confidence in themselves when we do the checklist exercise. First, we complete it as a class, then I review checklists with each student personally, so I can assess what I can be doing better to help that individual. Interestingly, I have found that, like my own checklist, most of my students include strategies for answering each test question format to their own list. So, a few days prior to any “high-stakes” assessment, I review basic strategies for answering test questions. This helps greatly and is a must-do!
In addition to my checklist, I've created three handouts that can assist students in test prep.
- Handout 1: highlights basic strategies for students in Grades 2–12+ when answering multiple-choice questions on prose passages.
- Handout 2: is for higher-grade level students and highlights basic strategies for answering each test question format (strategies can be modified for younger students).
- Handout 3: is a flashcard template students can use to help them study. To download my free test-taking resources for your classroom, click here!
Additional Review Opportunites*
*These can all be modified if you have content other than vocabulary to review.
Oranges to Oranges
Think Tac Toe
Rap your Words
Toss the Vocabulary
Memory with Words
Can I get a Quick Review?
Surviving to the End