12. Test-Taking Strategies (K-12)
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It should be standard practice to encourage students to read questions before tackling comprehension passages. After reading the questions, the student should ask questions such as,
A variation on this themeis the questioning, skimming, reading strategy called SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Review, Recite). Students must learn to do word searches through passages with a question acting like a magnet sweeping through a pile of junk.
These kinds of questions need to be practiced so that they become a kind of self-talk routine. The more automatically they are engaged, the more confident and successful a student will be when confronted with a test item. Make it a standard practice to have students jot down the questions they asked before reading. You can increase the value of this exercise by including a grade for this part of the assignment. Create opportunities for transfer, giving them test-like exercises in which they make up questions before reading.
Another major test-taking strategy is thoughtful "guessing strategies" which help a student narrow down choices based on their knowledge. These strategies are based on questions such as:
Give students an opportunity to generate these questions and others that they have when confronted with multiple choice questions. Explore the strategies that the questions suggest. This can only strengthen the students' confidence in test-taking and their own tool kit of questions.
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