March 28, 2017

Student Strategies for Less Stressful Testing

It is almost that time of the year when Mississippi students begin state testing. Classrooms can become very intense, because teachers have administrators on their backs... and administrators have central office staff on their backs. This pressure can cause tension between teachers and students. 

Students in high schools really have it tough because state testing solidifies graduation. Consider a four tips designed to improve assessment performance.

50 Tricks to Study Better, Faster and with Less Stress

Review information daily. Daily review periods minimize test anxiety. Many students get nervous on day of test, because they don't feel adequately prepared. If learners review learning material on a daily basis, they will not have the added pressure of getting it all in at the last minute. Students who feel prepared on test day generally experience less anxiety and are better equipped to demonstrate skills mastery.

Clarify gaps in learning. Many teachers review testing standards with students. Teachers connect preexisting skills as they introduce new concepts. But, students are encouraged not to let a teacher proceed with the lesson if the lesson is unclear, if questions remain. Test takers regret having not asked questions for clarity in class when they get to the test and run across a familiar topic that they do not fully understand. Avoid this stressor and improve performance by asking questions and following up with more questions.

 Why Students Don’t Participate In Discussions And What To Do About It

Change daily habits. Many times students want to continue to stay up late, hang out with friends, or  try to remember things without writing them down.  As students enter testing periods, transition in focus is mandatory. Their focus should be on mastering the test, on exceeding expectations. Accomplishing this goal may require a few changes in daily habits. I would always tell students that those same friends will be there after testing, if they are your true friend.

Build endurance. Often, students find themselves falling asleep during testing. Sometimes, sleepiness will over power the mind and body, and students begin marking any answer choice just to finish the test. Prepare the extended testing periods now by getting a good night's sleep. By resting the body, students build up more energy that can be leveraged to practice testing endurance over the next few weeks.

My final thoughts: I understand that testing can be stressful. Let's work on ourselves to facilitate less stressful testing.


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A very special thanks goes to
guest blogger, Darein C. Spann, Ed.S.
Darein is a public school teacher and
board director for the National Education Association.