Pointers for Taking Assessments

Test Preparation at Home

  • If practice materials are available, make use of them before the day of the test, if possible.
  • Make sure to get an ample, normal amount of sleep all week - not just the night before.
  • Wake up early so your brain has time to warm up.
  • Eat a nutritious and filling breakfast the morning and drink water on the morning of your assessment. Avoid high sugar cereals, which may cause anxiety.
  • Do some light stretching to help relax your body.
  • Practice focusing on breathing. Stress is often caused by insufficient oxygen to the brain.
  • Plan a treat or some kind of reward for after school.


Test-Taking Strategies

  • Stay focused and relaxed
  • Pace yourself, but don't rush.
  • Before reading any of the questions, take a look at the total time allowed and the number of questions on the test. Figure out about how much time you can spend on each question, or at least the time at which you should be halfway finished with the test. Then keep an eye on the countdown timer on the computer screen as you are working on the test. 
  • Try not to spend too much time on items that you are unsure of, as you can always come back to them once you have completed the items you do know.
  • After reading each questions, try to predict what the answer should be. IF the question uses math, calculate your own answer before looking at the answer choices. If the answer you come up with isn't listed in the choices, try reading the question again or checking your math for mistakes.
  • For questions that have a lot of reading, first try to find out what the question is asking you to do. This might be at the top of the page, but it also might be near the bottom of the page, just above the answer choices. Then read the whole question, keeping in mind what you are being asked to do or to find.
  • Most computerized tests will let you flag questions that you want to come back to. Use this if you have some idea of what the answer should be but you are really not sure. Once in a while, the information you need to be able to answer  a test question shows up somewhere else in the test. If you do use the flag feature, make sure you go back and answer them.
  • Even if you have no idea which answer is right, choose an answer for every question. Most tests do not penalize you for wrong answers, and there is always the possibility that you could choose the right answer by luck. 
  • On math problems, try estimating the problem before calculating (i.e. make 32 x 21 into 30 x 20), as this will help you notice if your calculations are far off your estimate.
  • Use all of the time allotted to you. If you have extra time, check your answers and try reworking the questions.