From Memorization and Test-Taking Strategies
Test questions that require students to read a passage and answer questions are often more difficult than multiple choice questions because the student is being tested on their understanding of new material.
Math questions, too, are often difficult for many students, especially when written in a word problem format.
By using a few simple strategies, however, students can easily maneuver through both math and reading portions of state and classroom tests.
How to Handle Reading Passages on Tests:
- Find the main idea: Each passage has a main idea. Read for the main idea and skim the details.
- Read quickly, answer slowly: Most students do the opposite; they read slowly and answer quickly. Read for the main idea and you’ll read quickly.
- Mark as you read: After reading each paragraph, make a brief note of two or three words in the margin. Indicate what went on in the paragraph. Circle important details.
How to Handle Math Questions on Tests:
- Look for shortcuts: A student might know that an odd number multiplied by an odd number gives an odd number for an answer. If only one of the choices is an odd number, it has to be correct.
- Work in consistent units: If one side of a rectangle is given in inches and another in feet, convert them both to feet or inches before multiplying or adding.
- Don’t do all the computations in your head: Use the margins and white space to work difficult or detailed computations.
For more information about study strategies for your student, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Please Help Me With My Homework. Available in both print and electronic versions!