9 Tips for Taking Standardized Tests!

9 Tips for Taking Standardized Tests!

Stephany Jaramillo, Editor

From PARCC to SATS, ACT’s and ASVAB, Standardized tests are on the horizon. So to everyone feeling stressed, and overwhelmed here are a few tips to make your testing experience a little more pleasant.


Tip #1: Don’t Cram! If your planning on studying and are aiming for a high score start implementing good study habits beforehand. Studying consistently an hour or 30 minutes a day is much more effective than cramming for a test the night before. Studies have shown that the lost sleep from your cram session the night before does more harm than whatever benefit you’ll get from studying late into the night.


Tip # 2: Mix up your study activities. Decided to listen to tip #1 and get a head start on studying? Great! …Now what? If you’re just planning on rereading the same textbook, stop! Change up your study activities. Read a chapter one night, then take a practice test on another, or watch an instructional video the following night. The more often and different ways you can expose yourself to the material, the better you’ll retain it and the more likely you are to pass the exam.


Tip #3: Understand the test from the perspective of the test writer. A content-based test like a history exam, which requires you to answer questions by providing facts, – will require a different kind of studying than a skills-based test, like a math test or the SAT. There you’ll need to understand and demonstrate the use of a critical thinking skill Like applying the correct formula or demonstrating comprehension of a complex reading section.


Tip #4 Know how the test is scored. Knowing how you will be graded can help you come up with a plan of action.For example a question like “Are you penalized for an incorrect guess?” can pop up mid-test for you and knowing the answer: No. Can have you prepared for a plan-B; your “letter of the day”.Your “letter of the day” is a letter you’ve chosen as your fallback in case of time constraints or just simply not understanding the question.


Tip # 5 Set yourself up to succeed! Things like having a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast can really affect your Testing skills. So skip the sugary cereal, go for scrambled eggs or granola; something with protein that will keep you from crashing five questions in. Show up early. Use the restroom beforehand, there’s nothing more distracting than knowing you have to go, but you can’t.Make sure you have whatever you need for the test the corrects pencils, erasers, paperwork and whatever else you need to perform your best.


Tip #6: Pace yourself. Figuring out how long the test is and how many questions there are can help you calculate the amount of time you have to answer each question. Helping you avoid getting stuck on any one question, and overly rushing. If you find yourself always have issues with timing a watch with a countdown timer can be very helpful.You might also take a minute at the start of the test to scan through the questions, so you can know what to expect.


Tips # 7 Answer the easiest questions first. I know what your thinking, how do I that? Well, most tests arrange the questions in order of difficulty, others don’t and standardized tests do a mixture of both. So when testing look for shorter questions they tend to be more to the point, and less in-depth. Questions with line references limit your attention to a few lines and not the whole text. Find questions with a distinguishing factor; like if your good at graphs does all the ones with a graph.Also if you’re stuck on a question, just move on to the next question. Just remember to skip it on the bubbling sheet too. Doing this can give you a fresh perspective, and time to focus your attention on questions you know.


Tips # 8 Review your answers. It’s always a good Idea when finishing early to look over your answers. You may have been told in the past that you should always trust your first instinct but Recent research on the topic by University of Illinois and Stanford University has revealed that making reasoned changes helped students’ test scores nearly three times as often as it hurt them


Tip #9 Don’t panic! Panicking is never the answer, but it’s also something you can’t control. Here are some things to do for prevention, or minimize anxiety. If you feel yourself struggling with one question, skip it and move on. You can come back to it later, or worst case you have your “letter of the day” to rely on. If you feel yourself getting anxious, take slow, deep breaths. Remind yourself of all that hard work you’ve put in and how prepared you are for the test. Don’t worry about the people around you. Who cares whether they’ve already finished, smarter people know they should use the rest of their time to double-check their work.


You’ve reached the end of this article, but there are countless other articles with tips and testing hacks! Remember the internet is your friend when studying, use it to your advantage. Sites like quizlet and Khan Academy can help your journey on acing whatever test you are partaking in. And Always remember to keep a positive outlook; Saying “I will ace this test”, instead of “ I’m going to fail” can help reduce your stress, and therefore enable you to fully concentrate on the task at hand.