Regardless of what state students are getting their education in, state summative assessments are a challenge all students must face. Each state has different requirements and different subjects in which end of course assessments are given.
There are a few things you can do, however, to prepare for your state summative assessments, regardless of which state you’re in.
Utilize Your Classes and Teachers to Maximize Learning
If you’re taking a class that requires a state summative assessment to measure your academic progress in the course at the end, the time spent in that class will likely be primarily focused on preparing you to be successful on that assessment. Your teacher will also probably be an expert on what is expected of the state assessment and will tailor his or her instruction to be the most helpful in preparing students as possible.
If an end of course exam is designed for you to demonstrate your learning in a class, then it only makes sense to be diligent and focused on your learning in the class each day. Take notes. Ask questions. Be an active participant in class discussions.
If you’re not sure what will be tested on a state assessment, ask your teacher.
Practice Toward Perfection
Just like with any critical endeavor that requires the development of skills, the practice can only help you improve. Ask your teacher for opportunities to take practice tests. Utilize some of the resources here at Lumos Learning to get a better understanding of the kinds of questions that will be asked and in what format.
Merely knowing that multiple-choice questions often include one answer choice that seems close to the correct answer, sometimes called a distractor, helps you to think more critically about the answer choices provided. Once you know which two answers out of four seem like they could be correct, eliminating the other two that are often clearly incorrect, you can focus on making a critical judgment about why a particular answer is either right or wrong and select the correct answer.
Manage Your Time Well
State assessments are mentally taxing and usually take several hours to complete. As well as being mentally prepared through studying, you want to be physically prepared as well. Studying late into the night the day before a state assessment is likely to do more harm than good. Focus is difficult to maintain when your body is begging for the rest you deprived it of the night before.
Instead, you want to get a head start on studying months and weeks before the assessment, so that in the days leading up to it, you know you’re ready and won’t feel the need to cram in a bunch of last-minute studying.
Getting a good night’s rest before the exam will help your ability to focus, which will increase your chances of performing well.
During the Test
You’ll likely hear your teacher say how critical the state summative assessment is many times throughout the year, but don’t let this make you nervous on the day of the test. Sure, the test is significant, but no student needs the pressure of what will happen if he or she doesn’t pass their state exam weighing on them when they’re taking the test.
Instead, take your time, read through each question, and answers choices (if provided) carefully. Use a highlighter if you’re allowed.
If you’ve prepared well, the actual taking of the assessment is merely demonstrating what you already know.