The Final Countdown

April is almost here, and for us educators in the State of Ohio we have the Ohio Achievement Assessments. (Fortunantely, becuase of the big snow storms we had this year, our exams are the first week of May.) I know many other states also have their exams this month as well, For the next few weeks, starting today I try to give my students some strategies to do well on their exams. many of these tips that I will mention below is just common sense, but for many of my students they just need to hear it.

(I got most of these tips and strategies from here.)

During Tests
• Read and pay careful attention to all directions.
• Read each passage and accompanying questions.
• Read every possible answer–the best one could be last.
• Read and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test.
• Reread, when necessary, the parts of a passage needed for selecting the correct answer.
• Don’t expect to find a pattern in the positions of the correct answers.
• Don’t make uneducated guesses. Try to get the correct answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers.
• Decide exactly what the question is asking; one response is clearly best.
• Don’t spend too much time on any one question.
• Skip difficult questions until all other questions have been answered. On scrap paper, keep a record of the unanswered items to return to, if time permits.
• Make sure to record the answer in the correct place on the answer sheet.
• Only change an answer if you are sure the first one you picked was wrong. Be sure to completely erase changed answers.
• Work as rapidly as possible with accuracy.
• After completion of the test, use any remaining time to check your answers.
• Keep a good attitude. Think positively!


Preparing for Testing
• Note test dates on your home calendar; schedule appointments on non-testing days.
• Encourage your child to take responsibility for homework and class study.
• Help you child learn how to find information independently.
• Praise your child for work done well.
• Encourage your child to ask questions at home and in class.
• Get to know your child’s teachers.
• Attend parent-teacher conferences.
• Confer with teachers on a regular basis for progress reports.
• Gather available test preparation materials.
• Assure your child knows that you value a good education.
Testing Day
• See that your child is rested and eats breakfast.
• See that your child arrives at school on time and is relaxed.
• Encourage your child to do the best work possible.
• Do not send your child to school if illness is apparent.
• Do not remove your child from school on test days for appointments.

Parent Strategies for Reducing Test Anxiety
• Discuss the test openly and in a positive way.
• Have realistic expectations of your child’s performance while encouraging his/her best efforts.
• Emphasize that the test is only one measure of academic performance.
• Emphasize that test scores do not determine a person’s worth.

I find that when I give my students more assurance, and some common sense tips and strategies they don’t feel as nervous. They know the importance of this exam. Teachers and parents know the importance of these exams. We just have to work together to help make each student comfortable and confident as possible while they take these exams.

Many of us have our on opinions about high stakes testing, and standardized testing. I am not getting to that right now. I feel that we can’t complain about the game when we knew what the rules were when we started playing. The test is here. It’s a reality to us and to our students. Our job is teach our children, not to use pass the test, but to be successful in life. The test should be starting point, not the end all be all sort of thinking.

What tips and strategies do you give your students and children to help prepare them for their exams?



RESOURCES:  <—I usually copy this out for my students