Students, teachers, and parents tend to dread the state/standardized testing that typically begins around April or May in most schools.
Students have to answer questions all of the time. Classwork and homework are full of them. Understanding the subject material is certainly important, but successful students and test-takers also understand how to think about and answer questions.
Last week we talked about two habits you can help your child develop as she does her homework that will also help her be more successful on tests:
- Practice the habit of reading and really thinking about the instructions.
- Read and visualize the questions and answer choices.
Here’s a third tip for answering questions and becoming a better test-taker. If your child is already very independent with homework, chances are that she has already developed these skills.
But if you’re spending time helping your child work through her homework and study for tests, it is well worth focusing on the process of answering questions as well as getting them answered.
Now For Step 3:
- Analyze the question: What type of question is it and what type of response is required
a. Main idea – Answer will relate to the whole thing / the big picture / the topic
b. Detail or fact – Answer will be something specific
c. Sequence of events – Answer will relate to time and order
d. “Why” question – Answer must give a reason. If there is more than one possible reason, carefully look at the words and ideas in the question. Which is the very best reason?
e. Inference – Answer will not be specifically stated in the story/article, but you can prove it from the information in the story/article
f. Compare or contrast – Answer will tell how two or more things are alike or different. Answer must mention / tell about both things, not just one of the things being compared.
g. Vocabulary – Answer will need very specific vocabulary
Developing the ability to determine the type of question and therefore the type of response required takes consistency and practice. This tool alone has been incredibly helpful to our students who struggle with comprehension and test-taking.
Once again, these are skills that can be developed over the course of the school year, not just when the “big test” comes along.