Preparing for your teacher test can be daunting. Because most of our Teachers of Tomorrow candidates are career changers it has probably been a long time since you have taken a standardized test. So we wan to help you make sure you pass the test THE FIRST TIME.  You don’t want to keep paying well over $100 to take your teacher test.

YOU CANNOT WING IT – YOU HAVE TO PREPARE TO PASS OR YOU WILL FAIL

Step 1:  KNOW THE TEST

The first step in passing your educator exam is knowing all you can about the test.  What is covered, how many questions, how much time do you have, where is the test given, what days can I take, when do I need to take each test in order to get my license and how long does it take to get the results.  You can find all this information about the test on the state educator preparation website.  Once you know everything there is to know about the test figure out how long it will take to prepare for the test.  Set your target test date (make sure you can actually register and take the test in this date). Then it is time to study.

Step 2:  STUDY FOR YOUR TEACHER TEST

Please study.  We have so many people that just assume they will be “good to go” and just go sit for the exam.  They are not good to go. There is a lot of information that you have to know in order to pass the test – so you must set a study plan.  You know your test date – so now set a calendar of study to prepare for that test date.

  1. Take a practice test – see where you are strong and where you are weakest on the test. Really shore up those weak areas and continue to build on your strengths.
  2. Plan a regular study schedule. Keep a daily and weekly study schedule of your daily, weekly, and major review sessions. You know the different sections on the teacher test – so plan out how much time to focus on each section based on your practice test.
  3. Study with purpose, without distractions, in a place you have designated as your private study area. Equip it with the tools and materials you need. Keep your phone in a separate room.
  4. Study in one-hour blocks of time with breaks of about 5-10 minutes in between. Study actively, move around, stretch, and read out loud.
  5. Create Good Review Tools – It is vital to your learning and test-taking to be a good note-taker. When taking notes while reviewing content, leave plenty of room so you can fill in details from the text later. Review your notes immediately after a study session, and on a daily and weekly basis, as well as before the test
  6. Create Mind Maps: A mind map creates a flow chart or diagram of your notes. Unlike the traditional outline method which lists items in a sequence, a mind map places the main topic in the center of the page with sub-topics and supporting details branching off from it
  7. 3X5 CARDS – if you are struggling with memorizing certain items, break out the old 3X5 cards and start reviewing them. Have them with you throughout the day and continue to push yourself to master those cards.
  8. Make a Study Checklist: A study checklist is a list of what you must study for the exam. It helps you to organize your study time and ensures that you cover all necessary topics

PRACTICE – the more you practice the better you are.  Practice does not mean doing a couple of questions from an exam – you really have to take a practice test in test like conditions.  Set yourself up just like it is the real test day and take the full practice test without interruptions.  This is the only way you can build up your stamina and be ready for the actual test day. Do not cheat on this!  Look for any bad habits you have such is as lingering too long on a question, getting too stressed out about a question or rushing and making careless errors. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Stress can really ruin your testing so make sure you practice being relaxed, knowing the time and monitoring your progress.  PRACTICE!!

Step 3 – Prepare for the big day

Leading up to the test, avoid conflicts or emotional upsets. Don’t cram. Get some physical exercise or do some physical activity that will take your mind off the test. Review your notes and refuse to worry! Instead, think positive thoughts (“I can do this!”, “I’m ready!”) and boost your confidence.

Stress comes from the unknown – if you get lost on the way to the test center and it looks like you are going to be late for your start time, your stress multiplies.  So – make sure you know where you are going.  Let google maps tell you how long it will take to get there at the time you have to depart your house.  Give yourself extra time to make sure you can nonchalantly approach the test center and announce your arrival to dominate this test.  Map out what you are going to eat and wear and test day.  You want to dress in layers. If you are bundled up, the test center will be hot. If you are wearing light clothing the test center will freezing.  Dress in layers so you can change your dress with the temperature.  You want zero distractions

Ease up on the studying as test day approaches.  Start winding down the learning and spend a lot more time on practice.  Do not study the day before the test – relax and get ready.

Step 4 – Test day

My roommate used to annoyingly say – “well rested is well tested”.  But he is right!  You have to get a good nights sleep. You must get a good night sleep. Make sure others around you know how important this is so they leave you alone and let you sleep. Set your alarm so you don’t oversleep and leave plenty of time for breakfast.

Eat a good breakfast – no sweets – you want good solid protein and some complex carbs to fortify you for the test. Drink you normal amount of coffee or caffeine – do not overload and get the jitters.  Drink a normal amount of water – not too much that you have to pee a lot.  Too much sugar before the test will drop your energy level during the test.

Avoid being around other people who may be anxious or nervous about the test – you don’t want their stress. Keep your mind clear, calm, and uncluttered. Select a seat near the front. Loosen any tight clothing so you will breathe more easily and comfortably. Get rid of excess body tension by tensing and relaxing your muscles. Stay relaxed during the test by deep breathing, focusing on the positive and giving yourself positive affirmations.

Taking the test –

  • Make sure you understand the directions on taking the test and make sure you mark your answers accordingly.
  • Have scratch paper available to work out any problems, take notes, tell yourself to calm down.
  • Answer the easy questions first, then the harder ones. Don’t get nervous if some questions look unfamiliar. Skip them and return to them later.
  • Pay attention to qualifiers (“usually,” “none,” “always,” “never”) and key words (“except,” “all but the following,” “the best,” “the least,” etc.)
  • Try to anticipate the correct answer before looking at the options.
  • Read all of the options; eliminate the ones you know are incorrect.
  • Take an educated guess – If an answer doesn’t come to mind immediately but you do know something about the content of the question, eliminate one or two answer choices you know probably aren’t right. While it’s true that on some tests, wrong answers can result in deductions, you would have to miss four questions to lose a full point. Just one correct answer gets you a full point. If you can eliminate a couple of answers you have earned the right to guess.
  • Pace yourself – As part of your test preparation, set up a pacing schedule so you’ll know how much time to spend on each question. Write out the schedule in your test booklet if you need to.
  • Pay attention to every detail in the question.
  • Verify whether or not there is an “all of the above” or “none of the above” choice before selecting your first-choice answer.
  • CHECKING OVER THE TEST: Go back over and check to be sure you answered all the questions. On machine-scored tests, be sure you placed your answers in the right spaces. Proofread your essays. DO NOT change an answer unless…there is indisputable evidence that your answer is incorrect or you had misread or misunderstood the question or you recall information or find the correct answer in the test.

Use proper test etiquette at all times – which basically means be quiet, don’t be annoying, and don’t make annoying noises.

YOU GOT THIS!

But if you suffer from a little test anxiety, we want to include some techniques to get rid of that as provided by Worcester Polytechnical Institute

The Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method

The Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method helps you relax by tensing and relaxing your muscles all at once. Follow these procedures while you are sitting at your desk before taking a test:

  1. Put your feet flat on the floor.
  2. With your hands, grab underneath the chair.
  3. Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair at the same time for about five seconds.
  4. Relax for five to 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat the procedure two to three times.
  6. Relax all your muscles except the ones that are actually used to take the test.

The Palming Method

The palming method is a visualization procedure used to reduce test anxiety. While you are at your desk before or during a test, follow these procedures:

  1. Close and cover your eyes using the center of the palms of your hands.
  2. Prevent your hands from touching your eyes by resting the lower parts of your palms on your cheekbones and placing your fingers on your forehead. Your eyeballs must not be touched, rubbed or handled in any way.
  3. Think of some real or imaginary relaxing scene. Mentally visualize this scene. Picture the scene as if you were actually there, looking through your own eyes.
  4. Visualize this relaxing scene for one to two minutes. Practice visualizing this scene several days before taking a test and the effectiveness of this relaxation procedure will improve.

Short-term relaxation techniques can be learned quickly but are not as successful as the long-term relaxation technique. Short-term techniques are intended to be used while learning the long-term technique.

Long Term Relaxation Techniques

The Cue-Controlled Relaxation Response Technique is the best long-term relaxation technique. Cue-controlled relaxation means you can induce your own relaxation based on repeating certain cue words to yourself. In essence, you are taught to relax and then silently repeat cue words, such as “I am relaxed.” After enough practice, you can relax during tests. The Cue-Controlled Relaxation Technique has worked with thousands of students

Negative Self-Talk Negative self-talk is a form of worry (cognitive) anxiety. This type of worrying can interfere with your test preparation and can keep you from concentrating on the test. Worrying can motivate you to study, but too much worrying may prevent you from studying at all. Negative self-talk is defined as the negative statements you tell yourself before and during tests. Negative self-talk causes students to lose confidence and to give up on tests. Further, it can give you an inappropriate excuse for failing tests and cause you to give up on learning. Students need to change their negative self-talk to positive self- talk without making unrealistic statements. Positive self-statements can improve your studying and test preparation. During tests, positive self-talk can build confidence and decrease your test anxiety. These positive statements; as well as others, can help reduce your test anxiety and improve your grades. Before the test, make up some positive statements to tell yourself.

OK – NOW GO PASS THIS TEST!!

For more on specific state teacher tests!

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