Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It's The Most ... Wonderful Time ... of the Year

The end of another school year is upon us ... but not before we get through state testing!  Parents, teachers, and even students often ask me about tips when getting ready to take the end-of-grade tests in elementary school.  I've compiled a list of tips and strategies that you my find helpful.

  • When you are stressed or sleepy try these:
        1. Think of a #sunnythought (like I can handle this, I got this, or I’ll keep trying my best)
        2. Set pencil down, close eyes and silently count to 10
        3. Visualize doing well on the test and letting your worries float away
        4. Breathe silently and deeply through the nose.  Exhale through the mouth.
        5. Roll shoulders and head to relax.
        6. Stretch arms or flex fingers quietly in your seat
        7. Watch the clock for 5 seconds and then return to work
  • Have a good breakfast on each test day.  
  • Get here in plenty of time so you don’t feel rushed.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Read Everything!
  • Don’t give up on test day.  Keep going to the end of the test.  Questions at the beginning of the test count the same as questions at the end of a test.  ONE question can make a difference between passing and not passing.  DO NOT LEAVE ANY QUESTION BLANK.
  • If other students finish before you do, ignore them.  Actually students who finish first DO NOT tend to get the best scores.
  • Look for key words (in math these might be words such as estimate, about, except, best, most and least in the test questions).  They will help point you to what your answer needs to be.
  • Mark through answer choices that are “way off base”.
  • If you get stuck, skip it and come back later.
  • Work out every problem on the test.
  • Draw pictures, diagrams or charts to represent the problem.
  • Read every word in the selection FIRST and then scan for your answer using keywords from the question. Many answers are combinations of information from several paragraphs.
  • Read the italics and TITLE for each selection.  They will help tell you the main idea for that particular passage.  There are “main idea” questions on the test…usually at least one for each passage!  
    • Main idea question choices often have one answer that is too broad- a larger subject, one too narrow-a detail, one that is clearly unreasonable and the RIGHT ONE
  • When answering vocabulary questions, do the following:
a. Re-read the sentences around where the word is used,
b. Eliminate answers that don’t make sense in the passage,
c. Look for word parts in the word that you already know to form a meaning,
d. Substitute answer choices until one makes sense.
  • If you are stuck between 2 answers, do the following:
    1. Re-read the question to make sure you haven’t missed an important clue word.
    2. Re- read the sections of the passage where your answer comes from
    3. Choose the answer that makes the most sense with the main idea of the passage

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