test taking prcc

Test Taking Strategies for PARCC

Originally published on the Ridgewood Moms website

With the PARCC exams around the corner, many students (and parents) are feeling those all-too-common pre-test jitters. Palms are sweating and heart rates are rapidly pulsing. You can help your child feel more prepared and at ease with the standardized test taking tips and strategies detailed below.

Strategies for multiple choice questions

Many students feel “stuck” when answering multiple choice questions. Some become overwhelmed by the number of choices and others just can’t decide which is the correct answer. Try relaying the strategies below to help your child better answer multiple choice questions:

-For starters, cross of any answers you immediately know are incorrect. This one is a no-brainer.
-Read the question more than once (at least twice) to make sure you fully understand what is being asked.
-Cover the answers. Always read the stem, or body of the question first, before looking at the answers. Try to answer the question in your mind just by reading the question, then see if you can find your answer in one of the choices.
-Look for clue words. Answer choices that have “hard” words like never, always, or definitely‎ are generally less likely to be correct than “softer” words such as usually, sometimes, or probably. Underline these clue words to help you decide on the correct answer.
-If “all of the above” is an option and you are confident that two or more answers are correct, select the “all of the above” choice.

Strategies for short essays

For some kids, writing in an untimed setting is daunting. Yet having to write a structured, well-thought-out written response in a timed setting can seem downright insurmountable. Help your child effectively answer short answer questions using the TAG strategy, as follows:

This strategy helps break down short essay response writing into these steps-

T-Turn around the question to form your answer.
A-Answer the question.
G-Give details to describe and support your answer.

For example, say the prompt is: You just read two articles in support of and against school uniforms. Based on your reading, do you feel school uniforms should be required at all schools? Support your essay with information from the articles you read.

You can answer using the TAG strategy, as follows:

T-Yes, school ‎uniforms should be required.
A-School uniforms should be required because classrooms will be more orderly, kids will feel more equal to one another, and students will focus more on their learning rather than on their clothing.
G-Here your child would provide more details, elaborating on the three reasons ‎why she feels school uniforms should be required.

SAFER strategy acronym

If your child still feels anxious on test day and you’re looking for some final tips, try sharing the SAFER acronym:

S-Save the hard questions for last; complete the problems you know how to do confidently first.
A-Add details and examples to your writing to elaborate on your ideas.
F-Fix your answers (if needed) when you go back to self-check your work.
E-Ease your mind. If your nerves kick in, take a few deep breaths, visualize the ocean or a peaceful garden, and try to relax.
R-Read (and re-read if necessary) passages to find the information you need in order to best answer the questions.

Standardized tests can nerve wrecking experiences for many students. Ease your child’s pre-test jitters with these tips and tools, and he will be well on his way to testing success.

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