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Standardized Test Mechanics


Study Skills & Tools All Ages Strategy


Fine Motor Skills Working Memory Attention Visual Discrimination Processing Speed Visual Motor Speed Spatial Perception

Standardized Test Mechanics

If your student works slowly filling in bubble sheets or misses rows, typically because of weaker motor or spatial skills or inattention

How To Apply It!

  1. Practice the mechanics of filling in the test answer sheet so you can work more quickly and avoid mistakes.
  2. Learn and become comfortable with the standard bubble format. Get practice bubble sheets if you need them.
  3. Fold over the test booklet so you only see one page at a time. It will help your eyes focus and give you more desk space to work.
  4. Cross out the letter of the answer choices that you are sure are wrong, so that you don't spend time re-reading the choices over again. Circle your final answer before filling in the answer sheet so you can easily check it if needed. (Don't cross out the actual answer, just the letter choices, in case you want to review your choices.)
  5. Pay close attention to the problem number on the test booklet matching the problem on the answer sheet. When your eyes move from test booklet to answer sheet, say the problem number and your answer letter in your head as you find that spot on the answer sheet and place your finger there. A combination of using your finger as a marker and saying it in your head can help you avoid a silly mistake. Practice and find the process that works best for you.
  6. For grid-in math answers, say the answer slowly in your head as you fill in the numbers. Double check by repeating the numbers you filled in with what you wrote on your test booklet.
  7. Decide if you want to group your answers or go one at a time. Some students work best going one at a time. Others group by question (finish all questions in the test booklet for a passage and then fill in all the bubbles at the end). Others prefer to work by page. Experiment to find which method works best for you BY SECTION.
  8. Consider weighted and/or thick #2 pencils if you have difficulty filling in the bubbles clearly. The properly distributed extra weight can help stabilize your hand, keep your pencil pressed more firmly on the page, and improve the clarity of your writing for grid-in or essay questions.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Having a comfortable routine for keeping track of the numbers and accurately filling in the answer sheet will save time and lessen the possibility of unnecessary errors filling in the answer sheet.