Test Taking Strategies for Fourth Grade Students

by Dana Tuffelmire

Testing in fourth grade gives teachers valuable feedback on students' progress and allows them to adjust instruction according to students' needs. From a student perspective, taking a test can be a stressful, undesirable experience. A little test preparation can help young students feel relaxed and confident at test time.

Test Preparation

Help your child prepare as much as possible for the test by asking his teacher exactly what material the test will cover. Find out what format the test will be -- multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank or essay. Review the content several days before the test in short increments so your fourth grader doesn't become overwhelmed by the material. Consider giving him practice tests that follow the same format of the real test or review facts and information with a trivia game. Your child will have confidence to do well on any test when he knows the information well. Ensure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the test and a good breakfast on test day.

Preview the Test

A quick preview of the test allows your child to see each section so he can pace himself, prepare for the questions or get rid of any anxiety associated with the unknown. After skimming the information, teach your child to go back to the beginning and carefully read the directions. If he is confused, he should ask the teacher to clarify.

Show What You Know

Receiving large amounts of information can be overwhelming for a fourth grader. To make the material seem more familiar, start with what the child already knows and go from there. Teach your child to answer the questions he knows first, skipping all the ones that he is unsure about. Then, he can go back to the more difficult questions to focus on them. If it's a Math test, drawing a picture or showing written number work on the side can help them narrow the possible answers.

Rule Out Wrong Answers

A multiple-choice test often has four answer choices with only one correct answer. Sometimes two or three of the listed answers are completely off-base. Teach your child to read each option carefully and rule out the answers that are definitely wrong. Then, he can focus on the other two choices that are most likely correct.

Read All Choices

Multiple choice tests can be tricky when some of the answers are similar or there is more than one correct answer. Teach your child to read all of the choices carefully before selecting the best answer. Remind him that even if he is 100 percent sure that option one is the correct answer, he should still read the rest of the choices.

Circle Key Words

An essay question might ask students to make a list, compare and contrast, agree or disagree or provide a summary. In order to get the correct answer, your child must know exactly what question has been posed. Help your child master this important skill by teaching him to circle key words or phrases within the question or underline important points before developing an answer.

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