Standardized Test Taking Strategies

1. Read the directions carefully. Make sure you understand what you are to do. Then follow the directions.

“I try to listen to my teacher’s instructions carefully and read all the directions. Then I don’t make silly mistakes.” – Michaela

2. Manage your time well.

  • See how many questions there are and how much time you have. Figure out how much time you can spend on each question.

3. Check your work carefully before you finish.

  • If you have managed your time well, you should have some time to check your answers.

4. Read the entire question carefully.

  • If necessary, rephrase the question in your own words.
  • Look for key words (who, what, how, which, etc.) that help you decide what the question is asking.

5. Read all the possible answer choices, and then select the best answer.

  • There’s only one correct answer, and it’s there. It’s your job to find it.

“Even when I think I know the right answer, I read all the answer choices anyway. I don’t want to miss anything.” – Angelica

6. Answer the easy questions first. Skip the difficult ones and go back to them later.

“I answer the questions I know first and skip over the ones I don’t know. Then I go back to finish them later.” – Carlos

7. Answer all the questions. Guess at an answer rather than leave it blank. Make an educated guess. Use the process of elimination to improve your chances of guessing correctly.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

8. Bubble in your answers neatly and completely in the correct place on the answer sheet. Only use a #2 pencil.

“If I finish early, I look over my answer sheet to make sure no question has two answers, my test bubbles are completely filled, and there are no stray marks.” – Matt

  • Reading:
    • Read the questions first, and then read the passage. Be a strategic reader.
    • You do not have to memorize the information in the passage. You may go back to the passage to find the answers you need.
    • Sequence words: first, last, then, next, before, after, later, and finally.
  • Language Arts:
    • The best answer might be: no mistake, no mistakes, correct as is, or none.
  • Math:
    • The correct answer may not be there. The best answer might be: none of the above, none of these, or not given.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License