Hints for Taking Standardized Tests Study Guide
Hints for Taking Standardized Tests
The term standardized test has the ability to produce fear in test takers. These tests are often given by a state board of education or a nationally recognized education group. Usually these tests are taken in the hope of getting accepted—whether it's for a special program, the next grade in school, or even to a college or university. Here's the good news: standardized tests are more familiar to you than you know. In most cases, these tests look very similar to tests that your teachers may have given in the classroom.
The following pages include valuable tips for combating test anxiety— that sinking or blank feeling some people feel as they begin a test or encounter a difficult question. You'll discover how to use your time wisely and how to avoid errors when you're taking a test. Also, you will find a plan for preparing for the test and for the test day. Once you have these tips down, you're ready to approach any exam head-on!
Combating Test Anxiety
Take the Test One Question at a Time
Focus all your attention on the question you're answering. Block out any thoughts about questions you've already read or concerns about what's coming next. Concentrate your thinking where it will do the most good—on the present question.
If You Lose Your Concentration
Don't worry about it! It's normal. During a long test, it happens to everyone. When your mind is stressed, it takes a break whether you want it to or not. It's easy to get your concentration back if you simply acknowledge the fact that you've lost it and take a quick break.
If You Freeze Before or During the Test
Don't worry about a question that stumps you. Mark it and go on to the next question. You can come back to the "stumper" later. Try to put it out of your mind completely until you come back to it. Chances are, the memory block will be gone by the time you return to the question.
If you freeze before you even begin the test, here's what to do:
- Take a little time to look over the test.
- Read a few of the questions.
- Decide which are the easiest and start there.
- Before long, you'll be "in the groove."
With the strategies in this section, you'll notice the next timed test you take is not as scary.
The most important time strategy is pacing yourself. Before you begin, take just a few seconds to survey the test, noting the number of questions and the sections that look easier than the rest. Estimate a time schedule based upon the amount of time available to you. Mark the halfway point on your test and make a note beside that mark of what the time will be when the testing period is half over.
Once you begin the test, keep moving. If you work slowly in an attempt to make fewer mistakes, your mind will become bored and begin to wander, and you will lose concentration.
The Process of Elimination
For some standardized tests, there is no guessing penalty. What this means is that you shouldn't be afraid to guess. For a multiple-choice question with four answer choices, you have a one in four chance of guessing correctly. And your chances improve if you can eliminate a choice or two.
By using the process of elimination, you will cross out incorrect answer choices and improve your odds of finding the correct answer. In order for the process of elimination to work, you must keep track of what choices you are crossing out. Cross out incorrect choices on the test booklet itself. If you don't cross out an incorrect answer, you may still think it is a possible answer. Crossing out any incorrect answers makes it easier to identify the right answer: There will be fewer places where it can hide!
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