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Check Work on Standardized Tests


Standardized Test Prep MS/HS/College Strategy

Check Work on Standardized Tests

Best for: Students who move too quickly, finish with extra time or are forgetful. Look for these Mindprint skills: Weaker Attention or Working Memory Accuracy (Left Quadrants) and/or very fast Attention or Working Memory Speed (Upper Left Quadrant)

What It Is

All students can make errors, even when they know the answer, under the stress of this high stakes test. Teach students efficient strategies to check their work depending on the section, how much time they have left, and whether or not they are more prone to scattered errors.

Signs A Student Needs The Strategy

  1. Finishes their number of questions but has low accuracy
  2. Worries more about picking an answer and moving on than getting each one right
  3. Lower accuracy than you expect on easy and medium questions
  4. When you review wrong answers with the student, it is clear they could/should have answered correctly

How To Teach It

  1. Most students do not have much extra time to go back and check work, so teach them how to use a Meticulous Approach as they work. At the end, have them focus on the questions they SHOULD get right, i.e. easy and medium rather than trying to re-do the harder questions.
  2. At a minimum, make sure students know to check that they have an answer bubbled in for every question.
  3. Only check the questions where there was uncertainty. These should be easy to find if the student effectively used Process of Elimination and other marks.
  4. Have students re-check the earliest questions first. In Math these will generally be the easiest questions. For all sections, students might not have gotten their rhythm and might have been more likely to make mistakes.
  5. It's often best to have the student re-read the question as if they are seeing it for the first time. If they can use an alternate approach to confirm their answer and come to the same conclusion, that is the most effective way to check.

Student Checklist: All Sections

  1. When you finish, scan the answer sheet and confirm every question has an answer clearly marked.
  2. Erase any stray marks that could be scanned incorrectly.
  3. Only check questions that you circled to return to.
  4. Check earliest questions first and work sequentially from start to finish.
  5. Re-read the every word of the question carefully. Confirm that the answer you chose makes logical sense. If it does, move to the next question. If not, try to find a new way to think about the problem.

Student Checklist: English/writing

  1. Only check the questions you circled/were uncertain of.
  2. Double-check grammar and punctuation questions first.
  3. Re-read with the answer you chose as the replacement. If it sounds right, move to the next question. If it doesn't sound right, re-consider the other answer choices.
  4. For punctuation, focus on making sure you saw the correct punctuation, e.g. You didn't originally think a comma was a semi-colon.
  5. Double-check copy-edit questions only after you finished all the grammar and punctuation questions.

Student Checklist: Math

  1. Confirm that your answer makes logical sense.
  2. Decide if you will re-solve in a different way or just review your earlier work. It is ideal to re-solve but you might not have time.
  3. Double check calculator calculations. It's easy to key-in incorrect numbers so re-type the calculation.
  4. Keep an eye out for the most common errors, such as incorrect order of operations or missing a negative sign.
  5. Options for checking without re-solving:
  6. Inverse Method: Use the inverse operation (addition/subtraction or multiplication/division) to see if your answer is the same number as one of the operands.
  7. Substitution Method: When you solve for an unknown, substitute your answer back into the equation to be sure it works.

Student Checklist: Reading

  1. Only check the questions which you marked as uncertain.
  2. Prioritize the specific questions.
  3. Carefully re-read the proof from the passage to confirm you didn't make an inference the first time or add anything that wasn't specifically in the passage.
  4. On Main Idea/Inference questions when you can't decide between two answers, pick the one that best supports the main idea of the passage.

Student Checklist: Science

  1. Only check the questions which you marked as uncertain.
  2. Carefully re-read the proof from the passage to confirm you didn't make an inference the first time through.
  3. Find the number in charts and graphs as if it is the first time through. Confirm you chose the right number.
  4. Read the labels on the graph or chart. Confirm you used the correct label for all numbers and didn't miss a conversion.
  5. Check your math even on simple calculations.