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Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm just not a very good test taker

I must hear these words at least 3-4 times I give a test. (I'm just not a good test taker).

I've come to realize that this doesn't actually mean what the student is trying to say.

After hearing this from a number of students, I peeked into their other grades and found that many of these same students were doing quite well in other subjects but struggled in math.  Upon asking them about their test-taking skills in these other areas the overwhelming response was that those other tests are easier.  Yet I have students who will still say that they are poor test takers even on assessments with very high class averages.

I'm convinced the "I'm not a good test-taker" comment is more a cry for help from students who are struggling but who lack the skills necessary to improve their scores alone.

Essential skills for studying in math

  • you must know what material will be assessed
  • you should know what kinds of questions your teacher will likely ask (multiple choice, constructed response, etc)
  • you should identify your own weaknesses and focus your study there
  • you should NOT wait until just before the test
What better students will frequently do in addition:

  • make up practice questions
    • even if you just take a problem worked out in class and just change 1-2 numbers and work that out
  • find another student in that class and discuss the examples
    • better yet, challenge each other with the additional examples you've made
  • Seek out assistance _online, IRL, etc...

Any other strategies you can suggest?  

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