BEGINNING this week Thursday, schools across Guam will administer the SAT 10 to their students. This test helps schools find out how much students have already learned about the subjects taught in school.
They also show how students in one class or school perform in relation to students from other classes or schools who take the same test. Teachers and school administrators then use the results from these tests to develop programs and make plans for instruction in various subject areas, such as: reading, math, language arts, social studies, or science.
Just as with all tests, parents want their children to do well on the SAT 10, so in addition to being well-rested, eating a good breakfast, and being mentally prepared, knowing some test-taking strategies can make a big difference on test day. Below are 12 suggestions parents can give their children to help them do as well as possible on the upcoming tests.
1. Read the directions to each set of test questions carefully and ask the test proctor if anything is unclear.
2. Fill in all of the bubbles next to the correct answer neatly and completely. Keep in mind that a machine scores the test. Don’t make any extra pencil marks on the answer sheet and erase any stray marks. They can be mistaken for answers by the scoring machine.
3. Work at an average pace of about one minute per question.
4. The test shows you the answers. Most questions on standardized test are in a multiple-choice format. That means that the correct answer to every question is in front of you. You just have to figure out which one it is.
5. Read all the answer choices. Sometimes test makers include distracters as answer choices. Distracters are incorrect answers that look like correct answers. Watch out for this type of incorrect answer.
6. Watch out for trick questions. Some questions include words such as: not, least, or except. In these types of questions, you are being asked to choose the answer that doesn’t fit with the rest.
7. Answer the easiest questions first. Save the hard ones for later. If you get stuck on a question, skip it and come back to it later.
8. Double-check every few questions that the test number in the test booklet matches the test number on the answer sheet. Remember that a machine scores your answer sheet. If you get the answer right but fill in the wrong circle, the machine will mark it wrong.
9. Use a good guessing strategy. If there's no penalty for incorrect answers, always make a guess. If there is a penalty, eliminate as many of the incorrect answers as possible to narrow down the answer choices. Then choose the most plausible answer.
10. When working on the reading passage section of the test, look over the questions for the passage before reading it. That way, you’ll know what information to look for during the reading.
11. Remember it is okay not to know everything. You’re not supposed to get all of the questions correct. Some of them will be too difficult for you. Unlike class tests, these tests are designed so that students get some questions wrong.
12. Don’t change your original answer unless you positively know it's wrong – statistically, your first answer is usually the correct one.
Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed, MA, is a teacher with 22 years of professional experience. Send feedback to atsuccessfullearner[at]yahoo.com.