Why do some students struggle on tests?

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 5:00am
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The Study Hall in Rockport has worked with hundreds of high school and middle school students over the years. Here is a short list of why we believe some students struggle on tests.

1.       Students may think they know the material, but once they get in the test, they realize they did not fully understand it.  Avoid this by asking yourself “test” questions as you study.  When would I use this formula?  What was different or the same between two periods in history.  Who was more important in the novel—the hero or the villain?

2.       Students panic when they think they don’t know the answer.  Stop and think.  You probably can do more with the question than you first thought.  Read it again slowly.  Underline important words.  Does the teacher seem to be pointing to a certain direction?  Think back to the last time you saw that topic—what other topics were connected to it?  Take a moment, note the details, and then begin to plan your answer.

3.       Students think they have to be perfect.  Just do your best.  The only way to guarantee failure is to cheat or to not answer.  If you can begin to address the question, you may find your way to a decent answer.  Most teachers give partial credit.  Keep trying until the bell rings.

4.       Try to spend your time wisely.  Be aware of how long you are taking and move on when you need to make sure you get to the rest of the questions.  Don’t neglect to get far enough to make sure you pass the test.  A perfect answer to only one out of ten questions will not get you a passing grade.  Sometimes you just need to force yourself to move on.

5.       Lastly, be well rested, have breakfast, and make sure you have pencils and your calculator, or your copy of the novel, or whatever you need to do a good job on the test.  Talk to yourself on your way in to the test and tell yourself you are ready and you are going to do your best.  You can do it!