Test Taking Tips & Strategies
As a parent/guardian, what do I need to know about the PSSA exams?
- The English & Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics PSSA exams are administered to students in grades 3-8. One week is dedicated to ELA and another week is dedicated to mathematics.
- Students in grade 4 also take a Science PSSA.
- Although schools take the test scores seriously, classroom teachers are looking for individual growth in students from year to year.
How do I help my child prepare for the exam?
- Establish an appropriate bedtime with your child.
- Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast each morning. A breakfast that includes protein is recommended as opposed to a sugary breakfast.
- Try to make sure your child is at school, prepared, and on time for each day of testing.
- Review test taking tips with your child.
- Discuss the importance of the tests.
- Reiterate with your child to relax during the exam and put forth their best effort.
What are some test taking strategies that I can go over with my child?
- Read and follow all directions and questions carefully.
- Before responding, be sure to look at all of the answer choices.
- Eliminate answers that don't make sense.
- For questions you're not sure about reread the question and try to find the best answer.
- Go back and make sure you've answered all of the questions.
- For ELA questions, remember to go back into the text to verify your answers.
- Use your scratch paper to your advantage. Work out math problems on your scrap paper first. Create organizers before responding to open-ended questions.
How can my child stay calm during testing? Have them follow the tips listed below.
- You've been preparing all year for these exams, be confident and positive.
- Listen to all directions given by the teacher and ask questions about anything that is unclear.
- Give yourself mental breaks when you need them. Put your pencil down, take a few deep breaths, roll your neck, give yourself some positive self-talk.
- Think of the tests like several small jobs instead of one large one.
- If permitted by your child's teacher, suck on a mint or other piece of hard candy to stimulate your brain.