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March 25, 2015

Test Prep Strategies That Work

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: The School Year
X Tried and True Test Prep Strategies

Tried and True Test Prep Strategies


Standardized tests are quickly approaching and it’s time to start getting students ready. Preparing them for what will happen during test week will ease their anxiety and make the week run smoother. Some Really Good Teachers from across the country shared with us some of their best test preparation strategies below.


Test Prep Strategies That Work

Brain Teaser Time

Laurie, a Really Good Kindergarten and Gifted Reading Teacher in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, sent in this idea for test preparation.

“We use Brain Teaser Time to practice getting ready for standardized tests. The kids love solving logic puzzles, so I turn the skills the test will assess into all sorts of challenging questions. I divide the class into teams, or I set it up so that the class vs. the teacher. We’re able to focus on areas in which the students need improvement while having fun preparing.”


The Mechanics of Test-Taking

“To kindergarteners, the concept of filling in a circle to indicate a correct answer is new,” says Really Good Kindergarten Teacher Lydia of North Little Rock, Arkansas. “To help familiarize them with this process, I put three pictures in a pocket chart. I place an index card featuring an open circle below each picture. I then read a question that would be answered by one of the pictures. When we determine what the correct answer is, I have a student place a index card featuring the filled-in circle so it covers the open-circle index card below that picture. We practice this until my students understand that the filled-in circle represents the chosen answer. Then we practice filling in similar circles on practice pages.”

Fun-filled Practice Tests

Second grade students in Really Good Teacher Michelle’s class in Lancaster, Pennsylvania approach test practice with smiles and laughter. Michelle says, “To help my second graders prepare for standardized testing, I create a fun mock test each student is sure to ace. I conjure up test questions based on factual information regarding classmates, teachers, and events we’ve experienced. Because my students are familiar with the test question content, the answers are obvious. Plus I craft “wrong” answer choices that are downright ridiculous, so each child cannot help but succeed. We use these silly tests to practice serious test-taking strategies, such as reading the entire question and eliminating answers, all while having fun.”


Testing Touchdown

“Third grade testing is no fun so I found a way to spice it up a bit,” says Jenni, a Really Good Teacher from Lebanon, Ohio. “This year in preparation for our state reading test, I turned my classroom into a football stadium. We pretended the students were players and I was their coach. Just as real-life professional athletes would prepare for a game, we learned mental and physical strategies to prepare for the test. Each day during “test practice,” I avoided using boring worksheets and instead used reading brain games that helped them flex their test-taking muscles. We created a team logo and decorated tee-shirts with the logo. On the BIG DAY we wore our jerseys to school, began the day with a team huddle, promised to do our best, wished each other luck, and tackled “Team Test” with excitement and pride. Following the test, we celebrated with Super Bowl-type party snacks consisting of juice and chips.”


How do you help your students prepare for tests?

Leave a comment and let us know!


Need Test Taking helpers? Check out Really Good Stuff’s Test Taking Tools!


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  • Bobbie
    July 11, 2010

    I really like the idea of the pocket chart bubbles. I gave my kids test last year and some of them understood but others didn’t this is a great way to get them all understanding filling in the bubble.

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