TAKING TESTS

TEST PREPARATION
There are three types of test reviews. The first type is Non-existent. The student never reviews his or her homework or previous tests or readings and just hopes against hope to give back the right responses on the test. A very small percent of students -- known as auditory learners (students who learn and memorize by merely listening), may do well like this, but they are few and far between.
 
The second type of review is Passive. In this case the student will glance over his or her notes once or twice, perhaps re-read a chapter or a section, and then go on to the test. This is a bit better than no preparation at all, yet it hardly ensures success. I call it passive because that is exactly what it is -- the student reads the material and hopes it sinks in, yet does nothing to help the knowledge become absorbed.
The third type of review -- the preferred type -- is called Active. Not only does the student review the material through sight, but through re-writing as well as speaking the material aloud. These are the students who will rewrite any notes they may have, construct lists, use flash cards, and recite material. This is the best method because it models how we memorize and maintain memorized information.

TEST ANXIETY
While you certainly want to inspire your child to do well, you don't want him or her to think that grades are everything. Indeed, many students who have had academic problems early on have found solutions through proper learning techniques presented with support and understanding. Therefore, if your child tries to do well yet brings home a disappointing grade, you should applaud your child for the effort and assure your child that you are confident he or she can improve. Doing otherwise may produce so much stress, your child may actually continue to do worse. If your child is taking a test and thinking about your negative reaction to bad grades, he or she will have too much stress to think straight for the test itself. Fear thrives on such a vicious cycle.
When approached with compassion, your child will be inspired to do well -- and may even study harder to repay the confidence and kindness you have shown. That doesn't mean you should pass off poor grades as unimportant, but keep in mind you're not going to accomplish academic success through anger or disappointment.
Another way your child can reduce stress is to avoid last minute studying. It is recommended that students turn away from their books and notes at least one hour before any test. Hurried, last-minute studying works for very few students; all it really accomplishes is more anxiety. The old saying is true -- if you don't know the material an hour before the test, you most likely won't know it within the hour.
If your child complains of test anxiety during the test, tell him or her to take a few deep breaths when the stress begins to hit. Deep breaths help break the cycle of stress and can do wonders to clear a test-taking child's head. The bottom line is this: Good grades and academic excellence should NOT come at the expense of your child's mental well-being. Nothing good has ever come from undue stress, and no single test or set of tests is worth the problems such anxiety can cause your child. If your child is experiencing unhealthy levels of test stress, you should seriously consider consulting a professional counselor trained in dealing with such problems.

GETTING READY
1. Be attentive in class. Do daily assignments. Study hard every day Study new material and review old material every day. Complete all homework assignments.
2. Establish a regular study time.
3. Learn to make and use an outline of the material that you must learn.
4. Make flash cards to help you to memorize information.
5. Make up possible test questions that you think the teacher might ask.
6. Form study groups to talk about the materials and formulate questions. Ask each other these questions.
7. Reread and/or rewrite your class notes.
8. Know what to expect. Ask the teacher what the test is designed to measure.
9. Learn the correct answers to questions missed on previous tests.
10. Skim textbook materials.
11. Get plenty of rest.
12. Don't eat a heavy meal before taking a test.
13. Consider the test a contest - you verses the test-maker.
14. Be confident that you can pass the test. Be convinced that you will pass.

MEMORIZATION
1. Intend to remember. This directs the brain to the activity at hand.
2. Be familiar with the material - the more facts you can relate to a subject the better you will remember.
3. Make sure that you understand the material.
4. Concentrate. Over learn.
5. Make use of memory devices. Mnemonics hook what you want to memorize to something you already know.
6. Write material down as you make flash cars, lecture notes, or create test questions.
7. Read out loud to yourself for it insures that the material is understood and acts to fix it in the memory.
8. Learn to visualize information. Close your eyes and try to see what you want to remember.

TESTING BEHAVIOR
1. Be on time.
2. Check all of your equipment. Bring all the materials that you will need.
3. Get comfortable.
4. Find out how the test is scored to determine if there is a penalty for guessing.
5. Read the entire test. Sometimes questions can be answered from other sections of the test. Read each question twice before answering it. Answer the easiest questions first.
6. Study the directions. Be sure that you know exactly what you are to do.
7. Budget your time. Allow time to reread your paper before handing it in.
8. Remain calm. Every ten minutes or so, sit back in your chair, breathe deeply and relax for a moment.
9. If you do not know an answer right away, skip the question and go back to it later. Mark the question unanswered.
10. Usually it is a good idea to stick to your first choice unless you know that you have made a mistake.
11. True-false questions containing such words as "always, none, all and never" are likely to be false statements. Words such as "usually, general, and sometimes" are more likely to be true statements.
12. For multiple choice questions, cross off the choices that are definitely not correct. Pick the one that is the most sensible after you have narrowed down your choices.
13. Essay questions require specific techniques. Read the instructions for each question carefully. Circle key words. Plan your answer. Make a quick outline. Budget your time. Proof your answers. Know the meaning of each word used in the directions.
14. Be neat.
15. Proof your test.

AFTER TESTING
Nobody likes to make mistakes. But sometimes making mistakes can teach you something. When you get a testback, go over it carefully. What kinds of mistakes did you make? Was there something you forgot to study? Did you forget to read the directions? Did you rush through the test? Did you misspell a lot of words? Was your writing too sloppy? If you're not sure why an answer is wrong, ask. Find out what the right answer is. Save your test papers - even the bad ones. They can help you the next time. Remember the mistakes you make and try not to make them again.