Test Tips With Eve

Eve Sarno, Staff Writer

Being students, we have a lot of experience with the word “test”. (Which has Old French and Latin word origins, by the way.) We hear this word either in its rare “pop” form, the “state mandated” form, the “open book” form, the “end of the year final” form, or the most common “TEST WHICH HAS BEEN ON THE TEAM CALENDAR FOR A WEEK” form.

     Supposedly, according to teachers, tests are a way to measure your knowledge and understanding on a specific subject. Us students can’t be so sure, as we live through them in torment constantly.

      Luckily, staff writer Eve Sarno is back this week with a few tips on how to cope with tests in all their glory. From studying beforehand, to coming in prepared, and to the actual test taking time, Eve is here to guide you through all those tricky steps.

In The Days Beforehand…

  1. Pay attention when the teacher is first introducing the topic. He/she may quiz you on something in this opening speech/lecture which might not be on the notes. In the days leading up to the big event, check that Google Classroom page just to be sure.
  2. Take extra notes, draw up flow charts, practice with flashcards, and use Quizlet! This is where the memorizing and grilling comes in. Highlight, box in, and underline important information which you know will be on the test. If you still aren’t remembering those terms and definitions, just practice over and over again the words you have trouble with.
  3. Get a Study Buddy. Partner up with a friend or a family member, or go to that teacher’s T-Period.
  4. Find a comfortable, quiet place to study. Study every day, a minimum of 20 minutes, with a 5 minute break.
  5. Ask questions! Whether they’re about what the test format is, what kind of stuff you need to bring on the testing day, or if you’ll all be watching a celebratory episode of the Teletubbies after the test, ask away, ask away, ask away all.

Coming in Prepared on Testing Day

  1. Get a good night’s sleep of 9 hours the night before the test day. For example, if you wake up at 6:30, you need to go to bed by 9:30. Do a light study session before bed, but don’t overexert yourself as this will make you stressed. You can always study in the morning before school.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. This will make you alert, aid your memory, and ease concentration. It’s tempting to pull out the Coco Puffs cereal box, but you’re much better off with an omelet instead. Or at least some toast. Or a banana. Or…something.
  3. If you want to get some extra study time in and you have no first period, first thing after you get in school is the time to do it. Head to the library, preferably not the cafeteria. Go over your notes/flow charts/flashcards/quizlet set/other reams of paper you pulled randomly out of your folder that has to do with the test one more time.
  4. When you go to your locker before the class that beareth the mighty test, ensure you have everything you need. A pencil with an eraser? Your Chromebook in case it’s a Google Form email? A calculator if it’s a math test? Other homework you can work on if you’ve completed the test early? “In The Days Beforehand” was your time to ask questions, people. No going back now if you don’t have something.
  5. Walk into the testing room confidently. Maybe you can actually pass this test with the help of this mini course! And if you don’t…I’ll be going incognito for the next 8 months or so to avoid the angry mobs.

The ACTUAL Testing Time

  1. Final time for questions. But the QUESTION remains…would you dare to go up to the teacher’s desk in front of everyone to ask a question????
  2. When your nemesis, the pristine packet of perfectly printed papers with the word “test” on top makes its way to you, look through each part and plan your time. It’s a good idea to start with the last few questions first (which are usually the short response ones) and work your way to the beginning, so that you won’t be completely exhausted at the end.
  3. Of course you know this material! You just spent days beforehand reviewing this material! You just read that material this morning! But you don’t know the material! What happens now? Well, try to stay focused, utterly futile as that may be. Think back. Visualize seeing the answer on the back of the flash card/quizlet card/flow chart/paper/notes. If you just can’t, and it’s multiple choice, use process of elimination to the best of your ability. Better a guess than leaving it blank. Sorry. I can’t help you any more.
  4. Keep track of time. You might have had it perfectly planned out in the second step, but the merciless, neither innocent nor guilty, clock ticks away relentlessly every time you pause to think. You could easily look up to see more than half of your testing time has been wasted on that challenging group of questions. Move on from those, and finish them after school or at lunch.
  5. Even if you’re positive you have no doubts about any of the questions, take any leftover time to check over each and every one of them thoroughly. You’d hate to lose 5 points over a pointless error that turned out to be not so pointless!

Getting Your Test Back

  1. So, your test has now been graded and you can put that frightful experience behind you, regardless of what grade you received. Right? No! Just a few more steps to get the most out of this crucial last section.
  2. If you got a 100%, great for you! Please stop reading right now and go on to do whatever else you have planned in your test-free life! The rest of you, try not to dwell on the slash(es) of the red pen. You did your best. Or, at least, my best. Hmm….
  3. Learn from your mistakes. Usually, the teacher will have devoted a T-Period or a set extra correction time for any questions about test errors. If they didn’t, approach them anyway and ask for some help. Set up a time to meet, and don’t just stop when you’re getting tired of discussing the error. Make sure you understand every aspect of every single error before you confirm that it’s okay to move on.
  4. Were there specific kinds or categories of questions you missed? Review those in the future, and bring them up with your teacher. If in math for example, you still don’t understand how dividing fractions operate, don’t be afraid to work with a helper. You could even search out a peer tutor at DFMS (there are a lot of peer tutors waiting for someone to help. Eve Sarno specializes in ELA, science, and Italian, and is available Tuesday mornings at 8:00).
  5. This test is just one test, and other tests can easily bring your grade back up. Remember that no one can be outstanding in everything. It’s why our world is so diverse, which makes it unique. We need all kinds of people with all kinds of strengths and talents to work in careers or help others. The definition of “test” defies that in every way. Yet the definition of “human” matches it impeccably.