2 Strategy #1 Reasons Why?Why should we learn better test taking strategies?What do driving a car, attending a four year college, enrolling in the armed forces, becoming a police officer, and attending a medical school have in common?All require a person to pass an examYou can truly benefit at school and with your future career by learning how to become a better test taker.
3 Why Bother? Tests scores give you a fair measure of your achievement Test taking is good practice for the PSAT, SAT,ACT, promotional exams, and graduate school examsPerformance on the CST/CAT6 will be used as one factor in determining student proficiency for promotionCST/CAT6 scores become a permanent part of a student’s cumulative recordThe State of California requires schools to give their students these testsOur school is evaluated based on the test results. It is part of the school’s report card, and the results are published for all to seeThe CST/CAT6 scores are used to compare schools. Good scores help to build the reputation of your school
4 Be here on test daysGet plenty of rest the night before each testing dayEat a good breakfast the morning of each testing dayPlan on getting to school in plenty of time so that you will not miss part of the test or feel hurried
5 Strategy #2 Following Directions & using time wisely Helpful Hints:Always listen to the directions given by the teacherRead the directions written on the testAsk the teacher if you do not understand the directionsWhen you are filling in the bubbles on the answer sheet:Make sure you completely fill in the bubbleFill in only one bubble for each questionWhen you change the answer, erase the “old Bubble” completelyDo not make any extra marks on the answer sheetAs you answer the question, be sure the number on the answer sheet matches the number of the question in the test booklet
6 How to make good use of time You might know the answer to many or all of the questions, but you need to finish the test and fill in the bubbles on the answer sheet or you will not get credit for them.Always know how much time you have on the testDuring the test, do not watch the clock but check it every once in a while so you know how much time is leftWhen you begin the test:Do not spend too much time on difficult questionsRemember easy questions are not just at the beginning of the test and that you are not expected to know all of the answersIt is okay to make a light mark on your answer sheet next to the number of the question you are skipping and wish to come back to laterIf the tests has 25 questions, make sure you have one bubble filled in for each questionRemember - do not leave any question blank
7 Answer every questionIt is important to answer every question even if you are not sure of the answerIf you do not know the answer to a question, read it againRead each answer choice. Eliminate answers that you know are not correctSome answer choices are meant to trick youDifficult questions are mixed with easy questionsWatch out for strong words such as always, never, all, or noneMark the best answer, only after you have read all of the answer choicesUse all of your time. There are not extra points for finishing earlyFor Paragraph reading:Read the 1st and last paragraph to get the BIG PICTURENext, read the questionsRead the storyLook back for the details and answers. Don’t waste time memorizing the whole paragraph
8 Final Word Tell yourself you are going to do your best on the test You will be able to answer many of the questionsSome questions will be hard and you will not know the answers - but that is okay. There is no penalty for making a logical guess.These tests are made so that students will not know all of the answers.
9 Strategy #3 the elimination strategy If you can’t figure out which answer is correct, try ruling out answers that you know are wrongOn Math tests, rule out answers that you know are too big or too smallOn Vocabulary and Reading tests, rule out answers that seem too extremeOn ALL tests, rule out answers that just “sound wrong”Once you’ve ruled out an answer choice, you never have to look at it again -- just focus on the choices that remainSelect the BEST answer. If you have some knowledge, but are not sure, take your best guess.THERE IS NO PENALTY FOR GUESSING.
10 PracticeJavier is taking a trip to the beach. He is taking $900. The hotel will cost $78 a night. He is staying for 4 nights. How much will the hotel cost?$ 78$312$322$900
11 Strategy #4 Skipping Around Strategy Every Question is worth the same number of points.Hard questions are often followed by easier questions.On a test, you can expect to see some questions that are too hard for you. Just skip the question and return to it later.If you are skipping questions on a test, make sure that you skip the same question space on your answer sheet.Do not leave any answers blank when you are finished. There is no penalty for guessing -- so fill in a bubble.
12 Strategy #5 Educated Guessing Strategy Never leave any question blank when you finish the testYou have a 25% chance of random guessingEducated guessing involves eliminating answer choices that you think are wrong and guessing from the choices that remainA blank is a blank -- it means that you don’t get any points. You should answer every question.A random guess gives you a one in four chance of guessing the correct answerAn educated guess -- ruling out one or more wrong answers -- increases your chances of guessing correctlyEducated guessing means using everything you know to answer the question
13 Strategy #6 Question Clue Words Strategy There are certain clue words that test makers use when they write test questionsThese clue words help you to eliminate incorrect answers and narrow down possible correct choicesHere is a list of the 6W’s and 2H’s:Who Name a personWhat Name a thingWhen Name a timeWhere Name a placeWhich Identify a choiceWhy Give a reasonHow The way something is doneHow Many Give an amount or number
14 Strategy #7 Using Verbal Clues Strategy Many tests contain short passages or stories that are followed by questions about a passageA verbal clue is a written indicator which serves as a guide in solving somethingHelpful hints to use:First, skim the information and questions. Then read the information carefully and examine all of the answer choices.It is very rare to find the correct answer choice in exactly the same words that are presented in the questionthere is usually only ONE appropriate answerPay particular attention to words in answer choices such as: ALL, NONE, MUST, ALWAYS, NEVER, EACH, AND EVERY. These words signal absoluteness and often imply wrong answer choices.Negative clue words that often appear in wrong answers:ALL ALWAYS NONE NEVER MOST
15 Using Verbal Clues Strategy continued: Watch statements that include qualifying words such as some, generally, sometimes, usually, and frequently. These words are often used to throw you off track in a correct answer.Positive clue words that often appear in correct answers:Some generally Sometimes Usually frequentlyRead all questions carefully because some test items require you to indicate which answer choice is NOT a correct answerSample Question:Why is taking a standardized test important?a. because ALL students who don’t take the test will have to repeat the 8th grade.b. Because SOME students may receive special scholarships for doing well on the testsC. Because MOST schools will close down if students perform poorly on the test.d. Because the CST/CAT6 ALWAYS shows how smart you are.
16 Strategy #8 Using Context Clues Strategy The context of a word includes all of the words and sentences that surround it and the situation in which the word is used.While reading, you can often use the CONTEXT CLUES to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.Types of Word Questions:Definitions or Restatements: words that define the unfamiliar word or restates it in other wordsExamples: words that suggest the meaning of the unfamiliar word by describing what it meansSynonyms: words or phrases that are similar in meaning to the unfamiliar wordComparison: an unfamiliar word or meaning compared to a familiar word or meaningContrast: an unfamiliar word or meaning contrasted with a more familiar word or meaningCause and Effect: the thing named by an unfamiliar word is related to the cause or effect of some action, feeling, or idea.
17 Context Clues Strategy Sample Questions She was totally ENERVATED, or weakened, by the difficult task. (restatement)We wanted to plant a row of CONIFERS - pine trees, fir trees, or spruce trees - behind the school. (Examples)At first, I was attracted by the newness of the task of pruning the rose bushes. However, the NOVELTY quickly wore off and I became bored (synonym)4. A ship’s HAWSER is often the strongest of all of its ropes. (comparison)5. Carmen seems very mature, but her brother is incredibly PUERILE. (contrast)6. The temperature rose to a SWELTERING degrees Fahrenheit. (Cause & Effect)
18 Strategy #9 “What’s the Big Idea” Strategy Many reading selections on standardized tests expect you to be able to understand the BIG IDEA of the selection.“What’s the Big Idea” is being able to summarize what the passage is about in your own words.This is like seeing a movie, and explaining it to your friend in a sentence or two.The Big Ideas:Fictional - Events and characters that make up the storyThis means that for Fictional Passages, look for what the story is aboutFunctional - The purpose (to do something)In Functional Passages, find the purpose or procedure being shown or taughtTextual - The point the author is trying to make or teachFor textual Passages look for the point the author is trying to make or teach
19 Passage #1Reconstruction of extinct animals from their fossil bones is a challenging and exacting science. Fossil skeletons almost never survive intact. The bones of one animal may be scattered far and wide by scavengers or water. Fragments of several animals may come to rest in the same stream-bed or sandbar, and careful pains must be taken not to mismatch them. As a result, paleontologists must spend years studying the skeletons of living animals, documenting form and function, and comparing anatomical details of related animals.What kind of passage is it?Fictional Functional TextualWhat is the point the author is trying to make?It is difficult to reconstruct the skeletons of extinct animals.
20 How to make a Green Carnation Passage #2How to make a Green CarnationMaterials: One carnation, green food coloring, a glass jar, and water.Steps: Fill the glass jar with water and add ten drops of green food coloring.2. Place the white carnation in the solution.3. Wait three days and you will have a green carnation.What kind of passage is it?Fictional Functional TextualWhat is the purpose or procedure being shown?Instructions for how to make a colored carnation
21 Passage #3As a tailor, Dina was not skillful, even though her mother had carefully prepared her for the job according to her family’s tradition. Dina’s talent lay rather in observing, analyzing, and explaining the behavior she saw around her. For example, the way the knee happened to bend and make a dress appear longer than it was, did not escape her eye when pinning up some soft gray wool about an aging calf. Though her clients never noticed it, the crudity of her manual work contrasted sharply with her experience in human affairs.What kind of passage is it?Fictional Functional TextualWhat is the story the author is trying to relay to you?It is a description of Dina’s talents and strengths.
22 Quick ReviewThe three different types of passages you will find on a standardized test are fictional, functional, or textual.The two steps to finding the big idea are:Identify the type of passagePredict the Big IdeaThe Big Idea of Fictional passages are the events and characters that make up the story.The Big Idea of Functional passages are the purpose or procedures being shown or taught.The Big Idea of Textual passages are the points the author is trying to make or teach.
23 Strategy #10 Marking Answers Strategy All answers are to be recorded on separate bubble sheets.Make sure your name is on the answer sheet each time you take a portion of the test.All answers must be recorded using a No. 2 PencilAlways mark your answer choices neatly, and within the designated area. Make sure all answers are completely bubbled in and dark enough to be read by a scoring machine.If you make a mistake or decide to change your answer, completely erase your first answer. Then mark your new answer choice. Do not cross out the wrong answer choice.Avoid any extra markings on your answer sheet. These markings can be read by the scoring machine and may be read as a double answer.
24 Strategy #10 Continued:If you don’t know an answer, leave it blank, and mark a light “X” next to the number on your answer sheet. Be sure to return to any skipped questions later, answer them, and ERASE the “X”.Be careful about “misgridding”. Always double check to make sure the number of the question you are answering is the number of the question you are filling in on the bubble sheet.Only ONE answer should be marked for each question. Any question with more than one answer will be marked wrong.When your teacher lets you know that time is almost up, go back to those questions that you have not completed and fill in an answer.Do NOT LEAVE ANY ANSWERS BLANK.
25 Strategy #11 Reducing Test Taking Fears Strategy Psychologists tell us that a little anxiety is a good thing, but too much can harm performance whether we are talking about running a race or taking a standardized test.You are only expected to do your best. You are not expected to know all of the answers. If you have given this test your best effort, then you have succeeded.Accurate test scores can be used by students, parents, and teachers to ensure that you receive appropriate instruction and interventions. So always do your personal best.
26 Strategy #11 Continued:If you find that you are getting nervous, take a few deep breaths , exhale, and allow your body to relax.During the test remember to:Make sure you know what to do before the test begins. Ask questions.Think about one test item at a time.Read every word carefully -- especially the instructions. Don’t assume you know what they want you to do.Know that there are easier questions paced throughout the test. Answer the easy questions first, and then answer the more difficult questions later.Answer EVERY question. Make intelligent or logical guesses by eliminating obvious wrong answers first.Always remember to do your Best on the test.
27 Strategy #12 Final Review Remember:Get plenty of rest the night before each testing dayEat a good breakfast the morning of each testing dayPlan on getting to school in plenty of time so that you will not miss any part of the test or be stressed out because you are in a hurryBe sure to read ALL written directions carefully and listen to ALL verbal instructions.Don’t spend too much time on difficult items. Answer easier questions first.Examine All answer choices and eliminate any obvious wrong answers.
28 Strategy #12 Continued:Select the BEST answer. If you have some knowledge, but are not sure, take your best guess.Be sure to fill in the answer bubbles completely and neatly.Erase all stray marks from your answer sheet.When you have a few minutes left, mark ALL unanswered questions with your best possible guess.Use your time wisely. If you finish early, be sure to review the entire test, checking that each item has only one bubbled answer.Remember to watch for KEYWORDS that are in BOLDFACE, underlined, and written in all CAPITALS.Remain relaxed and calm and make every effort to DO YOUR BEST ON THE TEST.