Three State Testing Tips for Students and Parents

5 min to read
State Test Taking Tips for Students and Parents - Image of a young female student in a pink sweater taking an online test on her laptop.

How to pass the state test is straightforward: Perform above the minimum passing score. 

Self-motivated, independent learners, however, don’t settle for the minimum. They challenge themselves to go well above and far beyond squeaking by. And their scores on standardized state tests and college entrance exams are important measures of their achievement.

Now that those tests are looming over the academic landscape, it’s time to review some state testing tips for parents and students. Students who start studying early can potentially avoid the stress and anxiety of cramming and build up their confidence to hit the ground running on test day. 

Connections Academy students have a built-in advantage. Working with their parents and Learning Coaches, they can use the flexibility of their daily school schedules to build in time for some important test prep. 

State Testing Tip No. 1: Exercise, Sleep Well, Eat Well

Exercise is not directly related to exam performance, but it supports healthy sleep, encourages better food choices, and delivers more oxygen to the brain—all of which contribute to test success. 

High achievers generally have good sleep and nutrition habits, but they also are prone to pulling all-nighters to get ready for the big test. That can hurt more than it helps. Establishing a healthy routine as a matter of test preparation eliminates the need for stressful cram sessions.

Carving out time for physical activity, rest, and healthy eating habits in your student’s schedule jumpstarts a study routine that contributes to: 

  • Better cognitive function. Everything about a test—thinking understanding, reasoning, and language skills, for instance, as well as the brain’s ability to organize information, and emotional wellbeing—are all traced back to good food and sound sleep. 

  • Reduced stress and anxiety. Kids who are well fed and rested are in better emotional condition, more self-confident, and relaxed.

  • Improved recall. Sleep gives students’ brains time to process and store information, which improves memory retention. Diets high in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids also have been shown to improve memory and cognitive function. 

  • Increased energy and alertness. Kids who are focused and alert are much more likely to thrive in a test-taking situation than peers who are sleepy, hungry, and cranky.

State Test Tip No. 2: Learn How to Study for State Testing

How your student studies for standardized exams depends on the test format

Multiple choice questions evaluate mastery of facts. Essay tests, on the other hand, challenge students to demonstrate their depth of knowledge, writing skills, and their reasoning ability. Many standardized tests include both formats. 

How to study for state testing essays could include reviewing relevant material, lecture notes, and practicing writing short answers based on that information. 

Flash cards are a tried-and-true way to prepare for the multiple choice section of state tests. The immediate feedback of flash cards—since the answer is either right or wrong—encourages self-reflection and quick information recall.

State Testing Tips for Exam Day

Knowing what to expect on the state test is one thing, but just as important is establishing a strong foundation for staying focused, alert, and self-assured on exam day itself. 

Here are some things for students to remember:

  • Read each question and its answers carefully before marking down your answer.
  • Ask for help if you don’t understand the directions.
  • Skip a question if it takes you too long to figure out. Answer the questions you know first before coming back to the skipped questions
  • Try to answer every question by making the best choice you can.
  • Double-check your answers if you finish early.

All that’s left now is for your student to get to bed early the night before the test, have a good breakfast the morning of the exam, and then go crush it! 

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