Parents, students and teachers are always looking for ways to improve academic test scores. Results on classroom tests, state-mandated proficiency exams and college-admission exams can be improved by taking practice tests and memorizing important information. Test takers also can make sure they get adequate sleep and nutrition before testing. Certain mid-exam strategies also will help students obtain the best scores possible.
Taking frequent practice tests and working on academic test material all year long can help students improve their test scores. Cramming right before an exam might help some test takers get a few more correct answers, but solid year-round study habits can cement difficult concepts, math equations and proper grammar in students' minds. For example, some teachers read stories and work on reading comprehension year-round so when it's time to take standardized reading tests, students are prepared, according to "The Principal Files" on the Education World website.
Manage Your Time
Students must learn to effectively manage their time so they aren't forced to leave blank answers or make random guesses. Most standardized tests and some classroom tests have a time limit, so students need to keep an eye on the clock. Getting stuck on a reading question or a difficult math problem can be a frazzling experience, but it's better to move on to the next question. Encourage students to focus on topics they know and skip unmanageable questions that might eat up their time, resulting in lower test scores. Effective time management can help students finish their tests -- or at least get to all the questions -- without running out of time.
Students must take advantage of every minute and review answers if time remains. If they finish early, instruct them to go back over their answers and rework or double-check difficult problems. Students might feel exhausted once they finish a test, but it's not time to let up until the bell rings. By checking their work, students might find silly mistakes, obscure errors or faulty entries. Corrections can lead to higher test scores, so it's worth the time to review your work.
Positive thinking can help students relax and concentrate, without feeling distracted. Best-selling author and certified children’s meditation facilitator Lori Lite says that positive self-talk can help students perform better on tests, according to the Stress Free Kids website. Encourage students to mentally repeat phrases such as "I can do this," "I am prepared for this test," "I am relaxed" or "I have enough time," before and during tests. Positive-self talk is calm and reassuring, so a student can maintain a healthy mindset, without feeling overwhelmed.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.