Although classroom and study habits have changed with advances in technology, standardized testing remains a constant measure for students. It is an efficient tool to categorize and compare student performance, whether for achievement, placement, or measuring aptitude. Preparing for these tests is just as important as mastering the material.
Below are helpful tips from Eye Level, the global leader in self-directed learning, for any math or English evaluation:
Read as much as possible. Reading helps build vocabulary, which is a major advantage when it comes to standardized testing. Expose your kids to novels, news articles and magazines which contain countless benefits – ranging from visualizing story concepts, knowing correct grammar usage to analytical thinking.
Analyze your reading. Standardized tests are always full of critical thinking, comparing and linking questions. When reading, don’t just have your kids identify the basic who, what, when, where, why and how. Encourage your kids to take their reading to the next level by posing questions that will help them fully comprehend the material and reinforce critical thinking for testing.
Visualize the problem. Visualizing the problem ensures that test takers don’t get bogged down by possible distractors or additional, nonessential information. This tactic is especially useful for math problems.
Master mental math. Mental math speeds up the test taking process, and practicing with flashcards is a great way to master basic math operations and enhance mental math skills. Writing carryovers and additional steps could cost precious seconds and minutes needed to check or evaluate answers.
Estimate to eliminate. Being able to estimate the answer and apply math sense are important in eliminating possible wrong answers and distractors, particularly problems that contain a wide range of answers. Even if the test taker is unsure of the exact answer, an approximation is helpful.
Increase math vocabulary. Teach your kids key words associated with math problems that will help them quickly identify the correction operation to perform:
Addition: sum, add, altogether, both, in all, total
Subtraction: subtract, difference, left, less, minus, fewer, how many/much more, remains
Multiplication: times, multiples, area, volume
Division: in each, average, quotient, amount of each, per, ratio divide
Tips for All Types of Tests:
Manage your time. It is important to spend time figuring out the correct answer, but DO NOT fixate on one problem or second guess your answer. Answer and move on.
Practice, practice, practice. Practicing and preparation are vital components to being a successful test taker. If you know that a test will contain more or a variation of a type of question, practice answering those types of questions. This is also a great way to get used to the testing environment and be aware of a time limit, which can be intimidating. With enough practice, your mind will be aware and trained on how much time is appropriate for each question.
Get to bed on time and eat breakfast. Although this should be every day, it is especially critical before a test. In doing both, you can focus on the test at hand instead of being tired or hungry.
Be positive. It’s important to have a positive attitude when taking tests, negativity breeds distractions and mistakes. Visualize how you will be rewarded after the test, whether it is a celebratory meal or extra sleep.