Testing Season: Tips and Tricks to Prepare Your Students

Updated 04/21/22

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As the weather gets warmer, standardized testing gets closer. Spring is testing season, so teachers and students alike are starting to feel the pressure! Here are some memory tricks to get your students prepared for the big day while minimizing the stress. Keep in mind not all memory devices work for every student, so be sure to only use those that will suit your class best!

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Give them practice questions

While there’s no way to know what’s on the test beforehand, you can get them acclimated to answering multiple choice questions. Teach them how to read the question thoroughly for keywords they might have missed, go over the process of elimination in case they get stuck, and remind them that it’s okay to skip a question and come back to it later. And don’t forget to warn your students about the misconception that “multiple choice” means “easy”! It’s unfortunately not true!


Hand out… Mints?

You read that right. A study by the University of Cincinnati found that the smell of peppermint helps people focus for extended periods of time. By handing out a few mint candies to each student before the exam, you could be helping them stay focused through the entire testing period!


Give your students as many mnemonics as possible

Using visual and retrieval cues is an excellent way to help your students recall information while they’re testing. For example, if your students have been learning geography this year, tell them that the American Great Lakes are also HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). Memory devices such as this are sure to aid your students in a pinch! 


Color code your review material

Color is another great way to help your students retain and recall information. During your review sessions, write practice questions and study materials in specific colors according to the subject. For example, math is blue, science is green, etc.. The color correspondence will help compartmentalize the information, so when they read a science question, they can “think green”! Bonus points if you can hand out the matching color highlighters during the exam too!


Ease test anxiety in the class

Remember that test anxiety is a large contributor to poor marks. Test day is a big deal for students, and many worry that their score is a reflection of their intelligence and character. It’s hard for them to understand that these tests are to measure the district at large rather than their individual performance, so it’s important to remind them that no one is out to stump them. Relieve test anxiety by emphasizing the importance of growing from our experiences— if they’re not happy with their marks, they can try again next year. You can even give them something to look forward to, like a movie and snacks the next day so it’s not overwhelming.


Originally posted 2022

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