Ideas to Help Students with Test Prep

Test preparation with students can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help make the process easier:

  1. Create a study plan. Work with your students to create a timeline for reviewing all the material and a method for prepping for the test. Encourage the use of active strategies such as creating flashcards, mind mapping, and creating their own tests.
  2. Use practice tests. Give your students practice tests and quizzes to help them become familiar with the format and type of questions they may encounter on the actual test.
  3. Break it down. Help your students break down the material into more manageable chunks. This can help them focus on the critical points they need to know and make studying more efficient.
  4. Have them explain it back. Have your students explain the material back to you. This is a great way to ensure they have a solid understanding of the material and can help uncover any areas of weakness.
  5. Incorporate activities and games. Incorporate activities and games into the studying process to help keep your students engaged and make studying more fun.
  6. Make it a group effort. Working together in small groups can help students understand the material better and give them a sense of support from their peers. 
  7. Be available for questions. Encourage your students to ask questions and make yourself available to answer them. This will help them feel more confident and prepared for the test.
  8. After students take a test, go over the answers. Point out any strategies which would help students such as keywords in directions, hints in the question which help students focus on the correct answer, grammatical clues, use of the process of elimination, and use of words such as all, none, some, and generally.

Preparing Students for Essay Tests

Essay tests require students to demonstrate your understanding of a subject by writing a comprehensive essay responding to a given question. The keywords used in essay tests typically require students to explain, analyze, compare, contrast, evaluate, and synthesize the material. Be certain your students know the difference in the following terms frequently used in essay exams.

  1. explain means to describe the concept or idea in your own words
  2. analyze means to break down the concept or idea into its component parts 
  3. compare means to identify similarities and differences between two or more concepts
  4. contrast means to identify only the differences between two or more concepts
  5. evaluate means to make a judgment about the quality or worth of the concept or idea
  6. synthesize means to combine or integrate multiple concepts or ideas
  7. define means to give a precise and explicit meaning
  8. justify means to use evidence to support an argument
  9. summarize means to write a brief statement of the main points

Resources from Reading Specialty to Help Students Practice

Reading Specialty has approximately 300 differentiated nonfiction passages to help your students develop background information and practice their multiple-choice test taking skills. The questions in standardized test format check comprehension and help students prepare for high-stakes testing. Each passage contains these types of questions:

• main idea

• vocabulary

• organizational patterns

• inference

• summarizing

Check out the individual titles or look for the monthly bundles. A link to the January monthly bundle may be found by clicking here.