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Five Effective Test Taking Strategies for Upper Elementary

Finding solid test taking strategies for upper elementary can be overwhelming. We have compiled a list of strategies to help kick off your testing season. Content shared by: MARISSA DESPINS, RISSA HANNEKEN, MARIANNA MONHEIM, RACH JAMISON, and RACHEL DEROCHE

Using Task Cards for Test Prep

It’s the end of the year, and you are exhausted. You have worked the entire year to ensure your kiddos are ready for the end-of-year exam, which can be a challenging experience. 

Rachel from Uniquely Upper believes that one of the best test taking strategies is to review major skills by incorporating task cards into your test prep strategy, which effectively prepares students.

Utilizing task cards for test prep transforms the review process into an engaging activity that helps students build skill mastery.

Using task cards allows students to focus on specific skills that they may need reinforcement on before taking a major test. I find task cards particularly beneficial for test preparation because their concise format simplifies the review process.

To implement this strategy, read more about the benefits of using task cards and how they can help with test prepping in upper elementary.

Sticky Note Scavenger Hunt

When it comes to test taking strategies for upper elementary, Marissa from Creative Classroom Core loves using sticky note scavenger hunts with her students. Simply pass students a stack of sticky notes and a piece of engaging text, and have them hunt for examples of key terms. 

This works great for practicing things like figurative language, elements of literature, text features, character traits, and more! 

For detailed information on how to use this creative activity in the classroom, be sure to check out the Creative Classroom Core post featuring 5 engaging ways to teach figurative language.

Test Taking Strategies for Math

When it comes to test prep season, Rissa from Teaching in the Heart of Florida knows how important it is for all teachers to have a plan for math review that engages students.

Test prep can be overwhelming and stressful for both students and teachers. That’s where fun and engaging math centers come in!

Rissa believes fostering active learning while helping students practice essential math skills helps students gain confidence. To learn more about test taking strategies and other helpful tips, head over to Rissa’s blog to learn more about using math centers for test prep and watch your students soar on their standardized tests!

Testing Envrionment Plays a important role!

Teachers know how important it is to prepare students for the content of the test, but what about the testing environment? Test days can be highly stressful for our upper elementary learners, which means it’s vital to prepare them ahead of time for the range of emotions they may experience. 

Marianna from Creatively Comprehensive knows firsthand what testing anxiety can feel like, so she likes to share simple tips with her students that they can apply on test days when they start to feel overwhelmed. 

A great example of a test-taking strategy for the environment is to have students practice pointing their legs out with their toes down – this stretch has been shown to help release tension from the body. 

You can also teach students to practice mindfulness habits such as unclenching their jaws, relaxing their shoulders, and rolling their necks in slow circles before beginning a test. 

A calm body leads to a calm mind, which is what students need to do well during tests!

Overcoming Testing Jitters

Do you get the testing jitters? Rach from Fifth is my Jam knows that exact feeling. It is such a high-stakes, pressure-filled time, and you need to feel happy! She has the perfect solution. One of her favorite ways to prep for testing is to consider the student experience following the tests. 

She hypes her students by offering a daily incentive in a mystery bag. Students really want to open the bag and reveal what is inside. The only catch: they must try their very best on the test! 

In her blog post How to Have Fun During End of Year Testing, Rach discusses everything you need to make this possible. Head over to read more and figure out how to let those testing jitters roll right off your back.

Final Thoughts on Test Taking Strategies

As you know, testing season can be daunting! We hope that these test-taking strategies help relieve some of the pressure you may be feeling and relieve your students’ test-taking jitters. 

Teaching is about building community. To dive deeper, take some time to read the tips and strategies that each author has to share and offer on their blogs. 

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Test Prep Strategies

Hey there! I'm Rachel

Hey there…I am so glad you are here. I hope  you find content that truly resonates and helps you in your classroom. Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks!

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