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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 1.3: Test Taking Skills

Test Taking Skills

What will we be learning in this lesson ?


  • Today you will be learning some test taking strategies and tips.




Why is this important to me?

    1. You take tests in all your classes.

    2. Many of you will be taking proficiency and achievement tests this year.

    3. These strategies and tips can help you avoid some of the common mistakes students     make on these kinds of tests



#1 - Track your time

  • Find out how much time you have to take the test and how many questions are on the test.

  • Estimate how much time you have for each question.

  • Set checkpoints.


Tips to Set Checkpoints

  • How many questions should you have done when  ¼ of the time has passed? When  ½ of the time has passed?

  • What should the clock read when you are half way through the questions?

  • If you're behind check points speed up.

  • If you're ahead of check points, slow down.

    Self Test Question 1
  • A test starts at 9:00 AM and you have 2 hours to take it.

  • The test is 100 question long.

    How many question should you have completed by 9:30?

Self Test Answer 1

Answer: I should have completed 25 questions by 9:30 AM.

Self Test Question 2

What should you do if you have completed only 20 questions by 9:30 PM?

Click on the correct answer.

a.Step up the pace and try to complete more questions.

b.Double check the answers I do have because only correct answers count.

c.Give up and tell yourself you're going to fail the test anyway.

Self Test Answer 2

a. Right! Stepping up the pace is a good idea. However, don't make the mistake of just putting down any answer so you can catch up. Answer questions you're sure you know. Take an educated guess on others. Leave the really hard ones until last!

          Click on NEXT arrow to continue your lesson!

Self Test Answer 2

b. If you stop to check your answers you will fall further behind.

Self Test Answer 2

c.Think positively! If you have a poor attitude and think you will fail, you probably will!

Click here to return to Self Test Question 2

#2 - Expect success

1.Have a positive attitude.

2.Go into the test expecting to do well

3.Don't be overconfident.A little nervousness helps you focus.

4.Don't get discouraged and don't give up.

Tips to help calm nervousness

Take time to relax for a few minutes.
Breathe slowly - calm bodies breathe slowly

You can fool yours into feeling calmer by taking a few deep breaths - five slow counts in, five out.
Take charge, take five, then take the test!

#3 - Study the directions>
1.Read the test directions, then read them again.

2.Study the answer choices. How are they arranged?

A. B. C. D.
A. B.
C. D

3.Study the answer sheet. How is it laid out?

1. 2. 3. 4. or
Directions count. Be very very sure you know exactly what to do and how to do it before you make your first mark!
1. 2. 3. 4.

#4 - Preview the test
When you hear the words, "You may begin," quickly look over the test to get an idea of how it looks and what you need to do.

1. Know how many questions you have to complete.
2. Know where to stop.
3. Set your checkpoints

  • Do the easy sections first.
  • Easy questions are worth as many points as hard ones!

#5 - Watch the numbers
It's easy to get off by one and then you have to spend all your time trying to fix the answer sheet.
Be sure to:
1.Match the number of each question to the numbered space on the answer sheet every time.

2.Leave the answer space blank if you skip a question.

  • Keep a list of your skipped questions on scratch paper - not on your answer sheet. The less you have to erase there, the better!

#6 - Master the question
1. Be very sure you know what a question is asking you.
2.Read the question at least 2 times before reading the answer choices.
When doing a reading comprehension test :
1. Read the selection
2. Master the questions
3. Read the selection again. The answers are likely to pop out the second time!

  • Look for clues.
  • Look for words like "not" or "except" that tell you to look for a choice that is false or opposite of the other choices.

#7 - Anticipate the answers
1. Before you read the answer choices, answer the question yourself. Then read the choices.

2. If the answer you gave is one of the choices listed, it's probably correct.

#8 - Rely on 50/50

You understand the question, but your answer isn't listed, or maybe you drew a complete blank.

It's time to make an educated guess!

1. Try to eliminate or rule out some of the answers.
2. Look for choices that are true, but too broad, too narrow, or just don't apply to the question.
3. If the answer choices all seem correct, look for "all the above"
4. If none of the answer choices seem correct , look for "none of the above"

#9 - Look for skips and smudges
Proficiency and achievement tests are graded by machine.
1.The machine looks for a dark, heavy mark.
2.If you change an answer, but don't completely erase the first answer, the machine sees TWO marks.
You lose a point!
3.If your marks aren't dark, the machine sees a blank space. Another lost point.
4.You marked a skipped answer, but forgot to erase the mark. Another lost point.

    At the end of the test check for:
  • Skipped answers
  • One answer per question

    Marks must be dark, heavy and inside the lines.
    Correct :

    Incorrect :