Test-taking Tips and Tricks

As we head into the last few weeks of the school year, life is a jumble of final projects, tests and end-of- year parties. Summer vacation is so close! It’s easy to get caught up planning for the fun and get caught off guard with how rapidly big project due dates and big test days are approaching. With final grades approaching, there can be a lot of assignments piling up, which can be overwhelming for students.  Sometimes being overwhelmed also seems like procrastination.  We offer some test taking tups and tricks for students who feel stuck.

While the best advice is to review and practice without being rushed, some of us need to feel the heat to get our act into gear. There is a surge of energy that happens when study or working time is condensed. DON’T give up. There is plenty that can be done up until very last minute. DO take five – thirty minutes to create a strategy for tackling what needs to be accomplished:

Create a calendar highlighting each test and project due date

For tests – review of what will be covered and within that material – determine which topics are already understood or mastered, which topics will be mastered with a quick review, and which topics are remain confusing. If half or less than half of the topics are still confusing, bring in an expert tutor to explain them quickly and efficiently. Invest in an extra tutoring session to review the areas already mastered, this ensures these areas are covered, gives your kid a little extra practice, and can catch any gaps your child didn’t realize were there.

For projects – review the rubric for the assignment and compile all needed materials. Determine which components involve your child’s strengths and help your child move through those as efficiently as possible. Work collaboratively with your child to complete the components your child struggles with. For example, if your child has slowly emerging written language skills it is likely hard to organize his or her thoughts. Ask your child for his or her thoughts about the project/thesis/author/plot and take notes on what is shared. Number these ideas in a word or Google doc so the two of you can easily cut and paste all your child’s thoughts into an order that makes sense. This step also helps you both confirm whether all the discussion points from the rubric have been addressed. Then, take dictation while your child narrates what he or she wants to say using the ordered list as a guide.  Once drafted, your child can proofread by reading aloud with your assistance if needed. Help your child revise and publish the final draft.

Good luck!


Rachel Fisher, M.A.

Executive Director


Franklin offers specialized academic tutoring, home school, test preparation, and educational therapy in Los Angeles and Orange County.  Contact us for more info!