MARCH 10, 2020

How to Prepare Your Homeschooler for Standardized Testing


Republished with permission from Let’sHomeschoolHighSchool.com.

Homeschooling is a great way to have more proactive involvement in your child’s education. But depending on the circumstances, your teens may be required to take some form of standardized tests. Or you might just want a better understanding of where they’re at academically. Either way, you’re no doubt wondering how you can prepare for standardized tests.

How to Prepare Students for Standardized Testing

These days, there are many ways to prepare for all manner of standardized tests, especially online. For example, if you’re looking to prepare for a test like the TOEFL, you can seek the help of a teacher using online lessons via Preply — it’s ok to look to outside resources for help, you don’t have to do it all by yourself.

Otherwise, here are some basic things you ought to consider when preparing for any standardized test.

Prepare for Standardized testing Using a Timer

Timing is everything!

Make sure that your homeschooler is adequately prepared for the pressures of timed tasks by practicing their ability to complete assignments within a specific time frame. Use a timer to measure how long it takes to do certain tasks and work on improving their record for each subsequent practice run.

Pick The Right Environment

Depending on which standardized test your homeschooler is poised to take, you may have the ability to administer the test yourself. Provided that you meet the necessary standards to do so, you should assess whether or not doing so yourself is better than doing so with a larger group of students at a public testing site.

Take age, comfort, anxiety, and requirements into account when deciding on the perfect test environment — it’s all subjective and different things work better for different people.

Preparing Students for Standardized Tests is Easier When They Understand The Purpose

Despite what you or your students may feel about the tests on a personal level, it’s always important to note the actual purpose of the test itself. Standardized tests almost always serve the purpose of assessing one’s skills.

Sometimes this may be used to determine entry into a specific school or program, other times it may be used to simply gauge a student’s academic progress in relation to their peers. It’s important for students to know when going into these tests that their results will allow you to determine how to better craft a curriculum centered around their needs.

Teach Your Homeschoolers How to Fill Out a Scantron

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people get this wrong!

Filling out a scantron the correct way means coloring in the bubble entirely: Not an X, not a checkmark, not a half bubble — a scantron must have all the answers blacked out completely to be read by the machines. Not doing so is just a silly and needless way to lose marks!

Get Students Into the Habit of Using Scrap Paper to Work Out Problems

Whether it’s outlining an essay or highlighting the most important aspects of a given question, it’s important that students readily use scrap paper (or even the test booklets themselves) to map out how they will approach finding the correct answer.

Problems and questions must be broken down into smaller bits in order to assess the full scope of what is being asked.

Learning the Power of Deduction is a Vital Part of Preparing for Standardized Tests

Your students won’t know the answer to every question. That’s just the reality.

Some questions will require a little bit of guesswork. In that case, teach your students the process of elimination whereby they’ll quickly omit the answers they know not to be true, therefore leading to a higher chance of getting the correct one.

Teach Students How to Properly Pace Themselves

When dealing with a high-stress and time-sensitive situation, it’s important to learn the basics of traversing these conditions in a calm and collected manner.

Students should be urged to go at a pace that will maximize the efficiency and quality of work. In certain instances, students might need to skip over questions entirely if it means getting to the remainder of the test— sacrificing multiple potential marks is not worth trying for a correct answer on one single question.

Correct Essay Structuring MUST be Emphasized in Your Standardized Testing Preparation

Depending on the nature of the test at hand, your homeschoolers may be required to answer essay questions. Should the need arise, it’s important that you teach your students the fundamentals of essay formatting:

  • Intro: discuss what your thesis is and how you’ll prove it (generally 2-3 points)
  • Body: make each point into a body paragraph where you will discuss them in further detail
  • Conclusion: restate the thesis of your essay and its supporting arguments

Why is Preparing For Standardized Testing Important?

Standardized tests are a necessary and unavoidable part of the educational process. Regardless of how you feel about them, your students must be properly equipped to deal with them. With that in mind, one should do their very best to know exactly how to prepare for standardized tests in order to eliminate any unwanted stress.

Guest post submission by Susan Craig.