Test-Taking Strategies

HVS Counselor Newsletter

Test-taking is an area of concern that is frequently brought up with school counselors. Students often feel that they have put in the time to study for tests, but aren’t pleased with results. Learning effective study strategies can help students learn to study smarter instead of harder. Coupling these study strategies with effective test-taking strategies should help your student to see better results.

Treat Homework Assignments as Study Guides

Students often treat homework as a task to be completed, instead of an opportunity to learn. Students should treat each given assignment as a study guide. By the end of a math assignment, a student should know how to solve each type of problem without looking back at notes. If there are any problem types with which students struggled, they should make note of it, get clarification from the teacher the next day, and try a few more of this problem type the next evening. Students should continue this cycle throughout the unit, constantly revisiting previous problems. When given homework related to reading assignments, students should start by reading the assigned section and then try to answer comprehension questions before looking back at the book. Any question for which students needed to look back should be marked and continued to be reviewed.

Go for Deeper Understanding

When solving math or science problems, students should be asking, “Why should I apply this technique to this type of problem?” and “How and why does this technique work?” In classes where reading is involved, students should go beyond memorizing facts to focus on the Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? of important events.

Link New Knowledge to Previous Knowledge

Trying to learn the definitions of “covert” and “overt”? “Covert” sounds a lot like “covered” and has a similar definition. “Overt” and “open” both start with “o”. This technique also works well for learning vocabulary for language classes.

Utilize Mnemonics

These are a great way to learn a series of steps or a list of items. You can, for example, create sentences (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) for Order of Operations or a word (HOMES) to learn the names of the Great Lakes.

Study in Short Spurts

Review material for a test, take a short break or move onto something else, and then come back to any information you feel needs to be reviewed more. Prepare a little each day over several days instead of cramming all studying into the night before a test.

Huron Valley Counselors Promote Academic Success

White Lake Middle School

WLMS WEB Mentorship program pairs 8th grade WEB students with select 6th grade students who struggle with organizational skills, study skills, and/or time management. The pairs meet twice a week at the end of the day and focus on missing assignments, organizing lockers, and/or setting study goals. Counselors help facilitate matching the mentors with mentees, training and supporting mentors, as well as celebrating successes along the way.

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Milford High School

MHS counselors met with sophomores and juniors in October to discuss their 2018 PSAT results. Students learned how to interpret their scores and to see if they aligned with their future plans. They were provided with free resources and strategies to prepare for future SAT testing. Students can link their PSAT scores to Khan Academy for personalized practice. Instructions can be found at https://www.smore.com/vjm9z.

Additional Resources for Test-Taking