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Test-Prep Tips

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Later this week, I’ll be writing about individual conversations I’ll be having with each of my students leading up to our standardized tests in early May.

Now, though, I thought readers might find it useful to have a summary of key points I share in my post, My Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad). In addition, I’ll share my list of “Important Test Words” that I review with my students during the half-hour of explicit test-prep I do with them a day or two prior to the test.  As I’ve said before, our school does not believe in teaching to the test and, instead, feel that what we do during the year will develop life-long learners who will do well on the tests.

Feel free to offer additional suggestions in the comments section of this post.

GENERAL TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES:

Read each question carefully and more than once

Read the questions before you read the longer text

Underline important words in the text as you read

Do easy questions first

Skip the hard questions and come back to them later (put a mark in your test booklet next to the ones you skip)

Eliminate wrong answers and make your best guess

Trust yourself, your first guess is usually the best

If you do want to change an answer, be sure to erase the first one completely

RESEARCH-BASED ACTIONS THAT CAN PUT STUDENTS IN A POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND ON TEST DAY & “BRAIN-PRIMING” STRATEGIES:

* Give Peppermints to students during the test

* Prior to the test, have students write for a minute or two about a time, or times, when they were successful

* Have signs around the room that have the letter “A” very visible — such as an inspirational phrase like “You’re a Great Student!” surrounded by “A”‘s.

* Prior to the test, have students complete “sentence scrambles” that have positive messages

* Prior to the test, have students write for a minute or two about what they think a scientist does.

* Have students drink a glass of water one-half hour prior to taking the test.

IMPORTANT TEST WORDS:

narrator

figurative language

except

consistent

denotation

connotation

similar

theme

author’s purpose

tone

compare

contrast

negative

tendency

recurring

influenced

assumes

persuasive

primary

personification

traditional

tradition

excerpt

rhetorical

logically

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the test prep reminders. Whether we like it or not, high stakes tests are here to stay. Thank you for the word list also, I plan on using it this week! Maryann Llewellyn

  2. Pingback: School Systems Blog - Preparing Students for Standardized Tests

  3. By writing summative and or formative questions in the same format as the standardized test it helps reduce student anxiety because they have seen it before. If you assess short answer questions with the same type of rubric a standardized test uses that helps as well. I agree with you that if you are teaching the standards in a way that promotes life long learning and the joy of learning you are ahead of the game.

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