Student Test-Taking Tip

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Testing Time[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tudents are being over-tested these days and the backlash against testing is growing. However, whether or not over-testing is reined in or not, testing in some form will be part of most schooling situations for the foreseeable future.  Preparing students for taking tests helps them perform as close to their potential as possible.

Over the course of my teaching, I have developed some test-taking tips. Some come from observation and anecdotal evidence while others were derived from published scientific research studies. In isolation, they may offer only slight benefit, but when used collectively, I have noticed a significant boost to test performance. In this article I will present a small, but significant, test taking tip that can have an impact on student performance.

Little Snacks Can Pack a Punch

snackProviding fuel to the brain before testing can be beneficial. During testing, the brain is under heavy load and needs glucose to operate efficiently. Some studies have indicated that short bursts of glucose may sharpen memory and thinking skills. Since the body readily converts food to glucose, just about any little snack before testing can give the brain an instant boost. However, I found some interesting research about a few snacks that offer more dramatic effects.

gumIt has been known for a while that gum-chewing sharpens cognitive performance in adults. But researchers wanted to find out if the same holds true with kids. They conducted a controlled study with 108 students. Some students chewed gum during tests while others did not. The results were rather dramatic. The students who chewed gum scored higher on standardized tests and also received higher grades in school. Click for the abstract to the study.

peppermintsIn another study, they found that the smell of peppermint can activate the brain and help students perform better on tests. For my students, I killed two birds with one stone and gave them some peppermint gum during important tests. 🙂 Read an article about the brain and peppermint.

It is also well known that cranberries or cranberry juice helps improve brain function and memory. But good luck getting your students to chug that down. 🙂 But even if they pass on the cranberry juice, assuring kids are fed well before tests and providing a quick little snack like gum or peppermint candy seems to have a significant positive impact on student test performance.

This tip is one of fifteen included in the presentation Researched-Based Test-Taking Tips by Rick’s Resources which is available at the TpT Marketplace.

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