Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Semester Exams in Middle School

It's that time of the year where the semester is winding down. If your students are like mine, they have one thing on their mind...Christmas Break. But before they can cross that finish line, they have to survive the dreaded semester exams (insert scary deep voice here!).

In our district, all students in grades 7-12 are required to take a comprehensive semester exam. Our middle schoolers will have their first experiences with these exams and it's always important for teachers to frame the exams in a positive way. In my ELA classroom, I make a point of reviewing test study skills,  and ways to combat test anxiety.  Semester exams are typically the longest tests my students have been required to take so far in the school year and it's important to help them improve their test stamina. Students also have a chance to offer their own strategies that work for them.

Here are the top ten student strategies and advice that came from class discussions this week:

1. Get a good night's sleep before test days. Being tired because you stayed up all night to study isn't going to help you get a good grade on the test.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast and make sure you eat lunch. Remember from Health class--your brain needs fuel.

3. Don't wait until the last minute to study. Cramming isn't smart. And it adds to the stress!

4. Divide the content into easily studied portions. It's not as scary and overwhelming.

5. Don't assume you know the information just because you have been in class every day. But if you have missed multiple days at school, make sure you have everything you missed. You don't get a pass for those days...

6. Take the tests seriously and don't blow them off. Christmas may not be as enjoyable if you fail your exams.

7. Ask your friends to study with you. Your family can help you too!

8. If you come to a question that you don't know, circle it and come back to it. Something on the test may remind you of the answer.

9. Just breathe!! (My personal favorite from an always stressed student)

10, Be confident in what you know. Don't be nervous. Take a deep breathe and relax. All the knowledge will come to you. (From my lowest student)

The next two days are exam days. Wish us all luck :)

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