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Five Strategies for Surviving End-of-the-Year Testing

by | May 18, 2017 | Children, Education, New SAT, Parenting, PSAT, SAT Prep, School, SOL, Students, Study Skills, Test Strategies | 0 comments

Five Strategies for Surviving End-of-the-Year Testing

Good Morning. Testing will begin shortly after you complete the identification information on your answer sheet. Please listen carefully to the following instructions. You may not eat or drink in this room. You may not leave the room until you have been dismissed. You will have one hour to complete this section. Work as rapidly as you can without losing accuracy. No credit will be given for anything written in the test booklet. Be sure to mark your answer sheet properly. You must use a No. 2 pencil…..Open your test booklets. You may begin.

studying, test, study, girl studyingStudents take an average of 112 required standardized tests between Kindergarten and 12th grade, according to the Council of Great City Schools. That’s right; the average student will take about 8 standardized tests per year! This number tends to be lower in K-2 and to peak around 8th grade. If you are a parent of a student who attends public school, this probably does not surprise you. For most, May is the start of testing season — a time when, as a teacher and the owner of a tutoring service, I see parents and students begin to panic about how to prepare for final exams, AP tests, and end of the year standardized tests. All of this testing, and for many just hearing the instructions above, can be enough to cause some major anxiety! Here are five simple steps that can be used to help prepare for any test with minimal stress and less panic:

  1. Take a Practice Test

With AP tests, the SAT, ACT, and the end of grade standardized tests, there are usually practice or released tests available to students. Taking a practice test allows students to experience what the test will be like, familiarize themselves with the types of questions on the test, and see what content will be tested. When preparing for timed tests, taking practice tests is also essential to getting the timing down. In general, practice tests are a fundamental part of studying and preparing because students can review their answers, learn from their mistakes, and determine what content they need to study. Studying to understand the content is a far more effective way to prepare than just trying to complete practice items or exclusively “teach to the test.” If a practice test is not available, making a practice test by turning notes into questions and answers is a great study exercise.

  1. Develop a Growth Mindset

After taking a practice test, your student should know where they stand and have a score that they are starting with. Most of the time this score does not match up with what they would like to receive on the real test day. This is why they are studying! It is important for students to understand that their knowledge can grow based on the effort that they put into learning the material. This idea was promulgated by Carol Dweck and is called a growth mindset. She found that how students perceive their abilities has a large impact on their achievement. When students believe that their intelligence is fixed (I did poorly on this test because I am stupid!) they do not perform as well academically as those students who believe that their academic abilities can be developed (If I work on this, I can improve!).

  1. Evaluate Work, Learn from Mistakes, and Set Goals

Students should look over practice tests as well as tests and quizzes they have taken throughout the year to set some goals for improvement. They should consider: a. Where am I now?; b. Where do I want to be when I take the real test?; c. What steps do I need to take or what do I need to learn or do differently to get from where I am to where I want to be? Students should write down their goals and the steps to achieve them and post this list somewhere visible.

  1. Ask Questions

Students should take the items they missed on the practice test, as well as notes from class, and record those as questions and answers. They can write the question on one side of a flashcard and the answer on the other. Using a program like Quizlet for this is helpful because it allows them to study these questions and answers with flashcards, customized practice tests, and games.

  1. Study for a Short Period Each Day

When studying for a test it is more helpful to study for 20- 30 minutes a day for several weeks or months (if we are talking about a big test like the SAT) than to stay up all night before the test cramming. Putting in a small consistent effort each day will have the biggest payoff.

As you may have noticed, it is more effective when students build their understanding over time, if they want to remember content for a test. Thus, the best way to really be prepared is to keep up in class all along by doing the reading, taking notes, and reviewing daily. Practicing this form of daily studying in conjunction with applying the strategies above can help students retain more information and feel more prepared on test day.

-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.
Owner | Parrish Learning Zone, LLC

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                                       ~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Pam Cantrell Burton
Pam Cantrell Burton
2020-10-14T16:15:51+0000
Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ellis
Laura Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
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Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
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Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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