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Five Test-Taking MUSTS!

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Tis' the season for final exams. Test-taking is a big part of life's journey.

Tests help students, parents, teachers, and schools track academic progress and identify areas where a student may need help. They also provide important opportunities for students to practice healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety. Tests are widely used for employment as well, making test-taking truly a lifelong relationship.

a hand holding a pencil taking a standardized test

It can be difficult for students to see the value of tests as assessments of their work, comprehension, understanding, and mastery. While tests are designed to measure learning and knowledge, there are many patterns common to test-taking and conquering them can be key to maximizing their efforts!

Since many students suffer from test anxiety, developing good test-taking habits and skills can ease fears and build confidence. Failure to do so can result in meltdowns and shutdown.

Mastering these areas will help students maximize these experiences.

Good Test-Taking Preparation

Good academic test preparation begins in class well before test day. It is important to minimize absences, and complete homework when assigned. Class attendance gives students first-hand contact with the information and access to the teacher for clarification. Homework is designed to reinforce important knowledge and provide practice in retrieving this knowledge later. Finally, studying a small amount each day rather than “cramming” can increase retention and lower stress.

Understanding Patterns in the Test

It is important to know in what format upcoming tests will be presented. There are several common patterns with each format. Understanding these patterns can help a student conquer test anxiety and improve his or her performance on test day.

Test-taking strategies are skills that can be learned and mastering them should be a priority for this lifelong endeavor. Check out this handy HANDOUT that provides tips for the most common test types.

Brain Health

a teen sleeps in bed before a big test

Proper sleep and diet improve our ability to focus, learn, and retain. According Texas Children's Hospital, need from 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night depending on their age. Eating healthy food on test day will help to avoid a crash in insulin levels which can lead to fatigue and mental fog.

Relaxation Techniques During the Test

Calming exercises will reduce anxiety and settle nerves. Remaining self-aware during testing will help students address their tense muscles and regulate their breathing as needed. There are multiple breathing exercises. Finding and practicing the right one can bring much needed oxygen to the brain when it is needed most.

Growth Mindset

Anxiety is often caused by negative thoughts and self-criticism. Students need to know that tests are a snapshot in the grand scheme of their learning career.

teen boy stands at the top of a mountain and feels a sense of growth and personal accomplishment

Replacing self-defeating thoughts are key to moving forward where improvement is the goal not perfection. This includes believing what God says rather than doubtful self-talk. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Finally, students should not let tests define them. They should do their best and give God the rest! “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

We have ready made Test Preparation and Test Taking Strategies lessons bundled in a Successful Study Skills package with tips and strategies to ease student’s fears. The principles in these lessons reflect sound, biblical standards that help young people build confidence and important life skills.

Their future – your influence – our tools! Want to know more?

Prep4Success Curriculum is specifically designed to provide you with the tools to connect to your students as you explore timely important developmental topics together. You can inspire, you just need the right tools. Join us!

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