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Test Taking Strategies AIMS & Benchmark Test Prep Cholla 2013 - 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Test Taking Strategies AIMS & Benchmark Test Prep Cholla 2013 - 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Test Taking Strategies AIMS & Benchmark Test Prep Cholla 2013 - 2014

2 Initial Brainstorm – on your lined paper 2 min Brainstorm a list of the test taking strategies that you already know. (Limit yourself to multiple choice type of standardized tests.) Which strategies do you prefer to use? star them Are these strategies good to use when taking the AIMS/Benchmark test?

3 Our Brainstorm Results

4 Previous Survey Responses To: “ What test taking strategies do I know? ” I always pick letter (C, B, G, etc) Elimination (take away an answer if it doesn’t make sense) Read the question first, then the answers Read the answers first, then the questions I make a zigzag pattern on my answer sheet Reread the questions to make sure I understand Look closely at the questions Double check my work Cover up the answers with my hand Work out the problems, don’t just guess I just guess

5 Read the directions and each test question carefully – Pay attention to BOLD, italics, and underlined words or phrases. Don't change your answer, usually your first choice is the right one! – Unless you misread the question. – Only change it if you KNOW you did something wrong the first time. Test Taking Strategies General Good Practices

6 Test Taking Strategies Review, Review, Review!!! Review the Test – Review both questions and answers. – It is possible you misread questions the first time. Make sure you didn’t leave any blanks – Unless you get points deducted for wrong answers, ALWAYS ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS!

7 Be Familiar With The AIMS Reference Sheet There is super useful info on this sheet! Don’t wait until the test day to figure it out. Know how to use it BEFORE taking the test!

8 Test Taking Strategies - MATH Making Smart Guesses Covering the Answers Reverse Engineer Elimination Estimation Simplify the Problem – Draw a Picture or Diagram – Make up your own numbers

9 Pay attention to “ Look alike options ” – probably one is correct. When you have NO IDEA about which answer is correct … – Toss out the high and low and consider the middle range numbers. Example #1 Test Taking Strategies Making Smart Guesses Example #2

10 Test Taking Strategies Covering The Answers - Math Portion This is good for both math and language type questions. Cover the answers and come up with your own answer before looking at the choices. Especially helpful on math questions containing graphs. Math Example #1 Math Example #2

11 Test Taking Strategies Reverse Engineer Work Backwards! Meaning you start with the answers and work backwards. This works very well for many types of math problems. Algebra ExampleGeometry Example

12 Eliminate options you know to be incorrect. – Then make your guess among the remaining options. Example Test Taking Strategies Elimination

13 Use estimation techniques. – Especially when the four answers are very different numbers. – Remember you aren’t being tested on HOW you are getting the answer, just that you are able to get the right one! Example Test Taking Strategies Estimation

14 Draw a picture to better represent the situation. Make up numbers and see what works. – Especially helpful on abstract problems. – CAUTION…pick good numbers! Be careful when picking 0, 1, & 2 because they sometimes behave in unexpected ways. – Remember you aren’t being tested on HOW you are getting the answer, just that you are able to get the right one! Test Taking Strategies Simplify The Problem Make Up Numbers Example

15 Which shows the following function in equation notation? What strategy will you use?

16 What would be a reasonable approximation for the given square root?

17 Fred borrowed $575 from his mom to help buy a truck. He paid her $25 every week until the debt was paid. What strategy will you use?

18 What is the value of x?

19 Strategy Review Stay Confident and Relaxed! Do the Easy questions FIRST! Use Strategies to Guess: – Eliminate known wrong answers – “Look- Alikes” - be aware of similar numbers – Work backwards – try substituting in the answers to solve it. CHECK your work, make sure your answers are reasonable! Make sure you are putting your answer in the correct bubble on the answer sheet! DON’T LEAVE ANY BLANKS!

20 RELAX, YOU WILL DO GREAT! ☺

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22 Understanding Test Anxiety AIMS & Benchmark Test Prep Cholla 2013 - 2014

23 Initial Brainstorm – on your lined paper 2 min Imagine yourself waking up and getting ready for school on AIMS testing day. – How do you feel? Imagine yourself sitting in school taking the AIMS test. – Write a minimum of three things that you are thinking about while taking this test.

24 Survey Responses To: “ How do I feel on test day? ” (write down on white board) Scared! Stupid, I want to ditch school. I feel tired and slow. Feel like I ’ m lazy Hungry, can ’ t focus Nervous I ’ m going to Fail; I don’t know half of this stuff! Everyone is going to do better than me! I want to tear it up! I want to go home; I don’t want to be there. I feel prepared and focused but also nervous I want to take my time and try my hardest.

25 25 Do You Get Test Anxiety? Physical Symptoms: headache, upset stomach, rapid heart beat, can ’ t get enough air, shaking, etc. Emotional Symptoms: feeling jittery, angry about the test, unreasonably afraid, overall lack of energy, etc.

26 26 Is Pressure Good for Test Taking? Some pressure is GOOD Too much pressure is BAD Image borrowed from MindTools.com

27 Test Anxiety Unreasoned Fear (like a phobia) Ways to combat: 1. Systematic Desensitization 2. Self Talk Reasoned Fear (areas of weakness) Ways to combat: 1. Study Skills/Preparation 2. Test Taking Strategies 3. Mini-Rituals

28 What is Systematic Desensitization? Repeated, frequent exposure to the stimulus. How do we do this in sports? How do we do this for AIMS? – ATI (Benchmark) Tests

29 Test Anxiety Unreasoned Fear (like a phobia) Ways to combat: 1. Systematic Desensitization 2. Self Talk Reasoned Fear (areas of weakness) Ways to combat: 1. Study Skills/Preparation 2. Test Taking Strategies 3. Mini-Rituals

30 What is Self-Talk? Thoughts are powerful and your own mental chatter can help you or harm you. Give yourself a pep talk the way you would to your best friend. – “ I can do this. ” – “ I ’ ve practiced this; I ’ ve got this! ” – “ I ’ m well prepared for this test. ” – Write on your lined paper a minimum of two phrases that you will practice for positive self-talk both before and during the test.

31 Don’t Make Your Test Anxiety Worse! Are there things that you do that contribute to your test anxiety? -Stimulants? -Sleep Needs? -Hydration? -Plenty of Nutritious Foods?

32 Caffeine and Test Anxiety Physical Symptoms: headache, upset stomach, rapid heart beat, can ’ t get enough air, shaking, etc. Emotional Symptoms: feeling jittery, angry about the test, unreasonably afraid, overall lack of energy, etc. On test day, avoid caffeine if you are feeling jittery, light headed, or anxious. –Remember caffeine is in coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks.

33 33 Caffeine will improve your performance on dull or boring tasks. Caffeine will hurt your performance on tasks that are unfamiliar or stressful. Caffeine and Performance

34 Be Good To Yourself! Get AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep! Stay away from junk food. Eat a large, nutritious breakfast! Drink plenty of water. Stay away from excessive amounts of caffeine. (energy drinks, lots of soda)

35 Test Anxiety Unreasoned Fear (like a phobia) Ways to combat: 1. Systematic Desensitization 2. Self Talk Reasoned Fear (areas of weakness) Ways to combat: 1. Study Skills/Preparation 2. Test Taking Strategies 3. Mini-Rituals

36 Mini-Rituals What is a Mini-Ritual? A quick, personal routine that is designed to improve mental focus and generate a high level of performance. Does anyone already have one they use when playing sports?

37 Key Components of the Mini-Ritual Needs to be subtle (so you are comfortable doing it in a room full of strangers) Needs to be quiet (so you don’t disrupt others) Needs to be easy Needs to work for you! (not all rituals will work for all people)

38 Shield Recite Find Your Happy Place Three-Part Breathing Posture Flex and Relax Wristband Combination Some Ideas For Your Mini-Ritual

39 Mini-Rituals - Examples 1.Shield: Imagine you are sitting in a protected bubble, like a force field. Visualize distractions bouncing off without affecting you. Or imagine you are wearing a thick raincoat and let distractions roll off your shoulders, like water. 2.Recite: Repeat a poem, prayer, or song you know well. 3.Find Your Happy Place: Think of a place where you feel relaxed and well rested. Imagine yourself there, completely content. What do you see, smell, and hear?

40 Mini-Rituals - Examples 4.Three-Part Breathing: First, sit up straight and concentrate on bringing the new air all the way into your abdomen. Bring the second breath into your rib cage and feel your ribs move outward. Bring the third breath into the tip of your chest. With each exhale, flex your stomach muscles and expel all of the old stale air. There is more air left in your lungs than you think. 5.Posture: Add a specific posture to your mini-ritual, such as confidently throwing your shoulder back, stretching your arms over your head, or placing your hands in a certain gesture.

41 Mini-Rituals - Examples 6.Flex and Relax: Tense your shoulder and face. Flex your fingers into fists. Hold your breath and count to five, then exhale and relax. Repeat three times. 7.Wristband: Wear a flexible bracelet or a rubber band on your wrist. Each time you catch your mind wandering, gently snap the band. It’s a gentle way to say, “No, that’s not where I’m supposed to be right now.” The wristband becomes a symbol of concentration. 8.Combination: Many rituals work best in combinations. For example, try “flex and relax” with “three-part breathing”, or breathe deeply while visualizing your happy place.

42 Practice – Practice – Practice! With time and practice, your mini-ritual immediately brings you into a powerful mental state of relaxed concentration. A well established mini-ritual is a great advantage for long contests or high-pressure situations like the AIMS, SAT, etc.

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44 Following Slides Haven’t Been Edited for AIMS These are from SAT test prep presentations that I’ve done. I have NOT edited or adapted for AIMS/Benchmark

45 Test Taking Strategy 1: Timing & Pacing Do all question encoding in the test booklet! – NO STRAY MARKS ON BUBBLE SHEET! Lightly versus Darkly filling in a bubble How do you encode a question? – See Handout on Pink Paper

46 Test Taking Strategy 1: Timing & Pacing Sample Encoding Symbols My Encoding Symbol:What it means to me: O This is the answer I chose ~ This is a possible answer → I like this answer / This is not an answer { } These are hard questions √ Double check this answer Skip and come back if I have time X Not a chance, crazy hard

47 47 Test Taking Strategy 4: The Mind Game Understanding Test Anxiety Use a Bridge Technique – This links the information you study with certain objects. – Your bridge object can be a lucky token like a wristband, lucky token, small stone, eraser, etc. – Make sure it is an object that will not raise objections in the SAT testing room. – Hold this object in your palm while you are studying. – Concentrate on this object if you are feeling anxious during the test.

48 Test Taking Strategy 4: The Mind Game Building Mental Stamina How can I lengthen my attention span? Build Mental Stamina 1. Train endurance – push yourself by studying for longer and longer periods of time without a break. Work up to being able to concentrate for 4 hours.

49 Test Taking Strategy 4: The Mind Game Building Mental Stamina 2. Prepare to focus – pay attention to what wakes you up and what calms you down. Before starting an SAT study session, set aside a few minutes for an activity that will help you feel focused and refreshed. Perhaps exercise or a creative activity works for you. (Quick Run, Play Guitar or Video Game) On test day, wake up early and practice your activity before going to the test center.

50 3. Avoid the crash – notice how different foods affect your ability to concentrate. Many find it difficult to concentrate when they are hungry. Lots of caffeine and sugar will work in the short term but lead to a energy crash. Since the SAT is 4 hours long, you don ’ t want to be hungry or fighting a caffeine headache. Test Taking Strategy 4: The Mind Game Building Mental Stamina

51 4. Track your progress with a log – if you are serious about improving your attention span, keep a concentration log as you study. Experiment with different mini-rituals, snacks, and activities to see which works best for you.

52 Test Taking Strategy 4: The Mind Game Understanding Test Anxiety Memory is location specific – Your brain links information to the place where you learned it. – This can contribute to test anxiety. – Combat this by studying for the SAT in several different places, both inside your house and in public locations.

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54 The Following Slides ARE LINKED To the test taking strategies portion of the presentation.

55 Example #1 - Covering the Answers Back To Previous Slide The Theater Club is selling snack boxes. The graph shows how much money the Club fund will raise based on the number of boxes sold. Based on the graph, about how much money will the Club fund receive if 90 boxes of snacks are sold?

56 Example #2 - Covering the Answers Back To Previous Slide Which answer represents the phrase below? twice the difference of two numbers

57 Example #1 of ‘ Look Alike Options ’ Back To Previous Slide

58 Using Elimination Back To Previous Slide Which is the y-intercept of the line represented by the equation? 4x – 8y = 64 Remember you aren’t being tested on HOW you are getting the answer, just that you are able to get the right one!

59 Example of using Estimation Back To Previous Slide

60 Example of ‘ Reverse Engineering ’ for an Algebra problem Back To Previous Slide Which equation represents a line with a slope of -2 that goes through the point (-2, 6)?

61 Example of ‘ Reverse Engineering ’ for a Geometry problem Back To Previous Slide Given the sum of the interior angles of a regular polygon is 720°, how many sides does the polygon have? Use your AIMS reference sheet!

62 Test Taking Strategies Make a Picture This is helpful on math problems. Especially on those that may be overly tricky. Half of a Half of a Half What would you get if you divided a half of a half of a half by a half of a fourth of a half?

63 What to do about an overly confusing problem. Half of a Half of a Half What would you get if you divided a half of a half of a half by a half of a fourth of a half? Make a picture ÷ Back To Previous Slide

64 Example #2 of ‘ Look Alike Options ’ Back To Previous Slide Which answer represents the sentence below? The product of two numbers (x and y) is two more than their sum.

65 Making Up Your Own Numbers Back To Previous Slide 5 + 10 = 15 and 15 = 15

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