Note: This is the next installment in a series from the book Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School by Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran.
When we left off last (which seems moons ago now), the authors were about to discuss effective test-taking techniques. So here’s your first question: Does your child actually know how to take a test? So many in society today think educators just “teach to the test.” Here’s a little tidbit about the state assessment system in Texas: there’s NO WAY to teach to the test. Teachers, however, do concentrate on strategies to ease anxiety so each learner performs to his or her personal best:
Time management during the test: Smart test-takers manage their time during the testing period by using techniques like writing down key words, formulas, or dates so these items are not forgotten. Learners can read through the test to see what’s coming and go back over the directions carefully. Many of our learners are taught to underline keywords in the directions, the word problem, or the text content to help draw their eye to important items. They check their answers and watch for mistakes or blanks, and when unsure, make a strong guess.
True/False tests: Look for clue words. A false statement includes absolutes, black-or-white words like “every” or “always” or “never.” Outrageous statements are usually false. A true statement usually includes qualifying, gray words like “most” or “some” or “usually” or “might.” A statement is only true if all the parts of it are true. Don’t read too deeply into the statement, and when in doubt, mark it true.
Multiple Choice questions: Read the question first and try to answer it first without reading the answer choices. Cover up answer choices and really work the problem. Read all the answer choices fully before making a choice. Cross out silly or incorrect answers remembering that typically the longest, most detailed answers are usually correct. Test experts note the answer choice “C” is most common for correct multiple choice answers when in doubt.
Fill-in-the-Blank questions: Read the question and think about the answer. If there is an “an” before the blank, the answer must start with a vowel. After writing an answer, read the entire statement to see if it makes sense now.
Essay questions: Read the question or prompt carefully several times while looking for key words and do what the directions or prompt say to do! 🙂 Brainstorm ideas, create a strong opening sentence, support the idea with details, and remember to write a closing statement. Edit and revise the essay to check for clear meaning, spelling, grammar, and “flow.”
Math tests: Know facts, procedures, and formulas (when appropriate) and look for keywords telling what math operation to use. Solve the easiest problems first to build confidence. Show the process and steps for working the problem sequentially. Check the work as each step is done. The use of graph paper and other graphic organizers is often helpful for those who have difficulty lining up numbers to compute.
These are just some of the many tips to test-taking to try for personal success. Your child’s teacher has many more and we always encourage you to visit on this important topic. Asking questions is still the key to effective learning…so ask away! 🙂
WOW…we had a huge LME turnout last night for our Kinder Kamp 2013! Thanks to all who participated and we certainly look forward to our new Miller friends joining us in August! 🙂