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Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies

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Presentation on theme: "Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies"— Presentation transcript:

1 Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies
Objectives: to support student achievement on the upcoming PSSA Reading test by practicing strategies proven to be effective with this test format to provide independent practice of these strategies using PSSA release tasks Materials: either an LCD projector to use the PowerPoint version of this presentation; or an overhead projector and a set of overhead transparencies of this presentation if the transparency version is used: paper to mask the transparencies, and overhead markers

2 Prepare Physically and Mentally

3 Be Physically Ready Get a good night’s sleep before the test.
The morning of the test, eat a healthy breakfast. BE ON TIME. Stretch during testing breaks. Lesson Notes: This slide contains suggestions for future exams of any type. Question: Before revealing the checklist, ask students what are some things that they do the night before a test. Bullet 2: Protein is the preferred fuel of the brain. It also burns longer than carbohydrates, such as breads, donuts, and chips. Protein helps one to avoid mid-morning fatigue. If students are hungry, that becomes the focus of their attention. Bullet 3: Students who are late may arrived flustered,and that is not a good mental state with which to approach the test. Bullet 4: On the actual PSSA in March, students may get a stretch break. Stretching helps with circulation to the brain, and releases physical fatigue. Being physically uncomfortable is distracting.

4 Be Mentally Prepared Remember, the stories
Being nervous, or not caring, can ruin your chance of doing well on the test. Remember, the stories were not chosen to entertain you. Pay attention and remember to highlight as you read. Lesson Notes: Bullet 1: The best way to fight nervousness is practice. If students are prepared, they will feel more at ease. That means paying attention to and participating in the reading strategies taught in Reading/English class, as well as the test-taking strategies taught in lessons like this one. Bullet 2: There is no way that test makers can include passages that are of interest to everyone. Highlighting as they read keeps students actively involved.

5 Before Reading Strategies
The test is on your desk. What do you do now? Lesson Notes: Ask students what they do when they are given a test and told to begin. Discuss some student generated ideas before going on to the next slide of suggested activities.

6 Get Ready Look over the test. Now look at the questions.
Think of it as several small jobs, not one big one. If you have a positive attitude you will do well. Lesson Notes: Bullet 1: Discuss with the students how looking at the length of the test is often frustrating and may create a negative attitude. Instead, they should think of it as preparing for a challenge; an opportunity to show off what they know. Bullet 2: The test is already divided into parts. Students have the time to take a minute between passages to take a few deep breaths, to stretch in their seats, and to clear their minds. Now look at the questions.

7 Scavenger Hunt Read the questions before you read the passage. Don’t read the answer choices because it will take too long and confuse you later. In each question, highlight the important words that tell you what the question wants you to do. It might ask “main idea,” “compare,” “author’s purpose,“ “opinion,” “summarize,” etc Also highlight unusual or very specific words or phrases that you can look for while you’re reading. Lesson Notes: Bullet 1: This strategy uses short term memory. You may want to use the example of remembering a phone number for a short period of time. What students highlight or underline should be held in this way; therefore, the activity needs to be short and quick to be effective. Otherwise students will be attempting to hold too much information for too long. Bullet 2: The use of highlighters is highly encouraged.

8 During Reading Strategies
Lesson Notes: Ask students to turn their papers over and try to remember as many words as possible that they highlighted. After completing this activity, have students quickly look over their highlighting. Before turning to the passage, remind students that they have not yet read the passage. Everything to this point has been in preparation for reading.

9 Active Reading Strategies
Always read anything that may be written in a box at the top or bottom of the page. Hint: Sometimes you will find an answer to a question in one of the boxes. Read in chunks, stopping often (every paragraph or 2) to ask yourself, “What did I just learn?” If you don’t know, REREAD THE SECTION until you do. This way you’ll catch where you stopped understanding, instead of realizing at the end of the story that you don’t understand it. Lesson Notes: Bullet 2: You may want to have students share experiences with having read a large chunk of material and not knowing what they read. Stopping to restate, and reread if necessary, will prevent having to reread a large amount of text. Bullet 3: It’s also important for students to reread when they don’t understand, because they may miss something important in the story if they don’t reread.

10 Highlighting Careful highlighting can help you find the answers to the questions. As you read, highlight any words that remind you of the questions that you read. As you read, highlight any sentence that contains the unusual words or important words that you highlighted in the questions. Lesson Notes: Bullet 1: The biggest distinction to make for students is that they highlight for different purposes. When they highlight for a multiple choice test, they should not highlight what they think is important; they should highlight what they know relates to the previewed questions. Be careful: Too much highlighting will make it hard for you to find the answers to the questions.

11 After Reading Strategies

12 Hints for Answering Multiple Choice Questions
Go back to the passage Cover the answer choices Get rid of wrong answers Intelligent guessing Advice for bubbling Finishing Lesson Notes: These are the strategies that will be elaborated upon in subsequent slides. As you discuss each strategy, remind students that as a general rule they are always expected to read all the answers in order to choose the BEST answer. Since some questions may have all true answer choices, it’s important that students do not stop reading if the first answer is correct; it may not be the best correct answer. Not all strategies work for all questions. This is why it is important for students to be familiar with a variety of strategies, so that if one doesn’t work they can try another. This also supports different learning styles.

13 your highlighting will help you.
First of all... Don’t trust your memory; go back to the passage to look for the answers. It’s not cheating; you have the time, and your highlighting will help you. Lesson Notes: Remind students that all of the answers, or clues to the answers if the questions are inferential, are in the text. If they go back to look at the selection and their highlighting, their chance of choosing the correct answers is greatly improved.

14 Pretend It’s Not Multiple Choice
Cover up the answer choices and read the question only. See if you already KNOW the answer. Don’t peek, and predict the answer. Now, read ALL of the answer choices. See if any of the choices match your prediction. If your prediction isn’t one of the choices, read the question again; you may have read it incorrectly or misunderstood it. Double check your answer by going back to the passage for proof. Lesson Notes: You might want to begin discussion of this strategy with an analogy: think of the answer choices as a menu. If you’re hungry and go into a restaurant not knowing what you want, everything on the menu starts to look good. If you go in with an idea of what you want, then making your selection is much easier. If you know what you want before you look at the answer choices (menu), it makes the correct answer more obvious, increases your confidence, and saves time. Discuss each bullet with your students.

15 Get Rid of Wrong Answers
Go back to the section in the passage that is about the question. Read ALL of the answers, and cross out those that you KNOW are wrong. If more than one choice seems true, then one of them doesn’t really answer that question. Read the question again to see which choice is wrong. Some answers are partly true. If any part of the answer is false, it’s not the correct answer. Lesson Notes: In the sample, reread aloud the section of the passage that relates to the question, then verbalize your thinking process as you eliminate distracters following the guidelines above. For vocabulary, try putting each answer choice in the sentence in place of the vocabulary word. Choose the one that makes the most sense. Ask yourself what the question is asking you to do.

16 I’ve Tried All That And Still Don’t Have A Clue
Research shows that first thoughts are often correct, but we don’t always trust ourselves. If you cannot figure out the answer within a few minutes by using the passage and suggestions, go with your first thoughts. Don’t leave it blank; you might number the rest of the test incorrectly. Lesson Notes: You may want to tell students that studies suggest that our “gut feeling” may be information that our brain has retained without us realizing it. Ask how many students have changed an answer, only to discover later that their first choice was correct. Circle the questions you’re unsure of, even though you’ve answered them. Go back when you’re done with the section and take a fresh look. Sometimes, later questions help to answer earlier ones.

17 When you are finished Go back to make sure that you’ve answered all of the questions. Erase all stray marks and smudges. Lesson Notes: Discuss the points above.

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