5 Ways for Educators to Prepare Students for Final Exams

Educators at all levels have a love/hate relationship with exams, especially standardized tests. On the one hand, educators recognize that multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions only measure a fraction of a student’s ability. On the other hand, assessments are necessary to measure student progress and assist the classroom educator in making instructional decisions.

The Things That Educators Can Do

Here are some tips to help today’s teachers prepare students for this necessary evil called testing.

Educators Should Encourage Active Learning

Students today are conditioned to high levels of stimulation, from video games to endless options of streaming content on the television, making engagement in a classroom more complex than ever. Teachers can harness students’ interest and proficiency in technology by utilizing apps such as Kahoot or Flipgrid to engage them in classroom content and discussions.

Students Should Identify Critical Information

Before students can study, they need to understand what to study. The traffic light technique is a process of self-assessment that has students label a concept with green for mastered, yellow for partially mastered, and red for not mastered. Educators can lead an entire class through this process to identify topics that need to be re-taught and to help students zero in on concepts they should be studying as part of their final exam preparation.

Educators Should Teach Study Strategies

Learning requires converting information from the senses to a structure the brain can interpret and store. This process is called encoding, and one could accomplish this through visual, acoustic, or semantic techniques. Flashcards are an effective method of encoding. The cards should include a graphic or other visual cue, an explanation of the concept, and a connection to other knowledge. The verbal review of these cards adds the acoustic element to the semantic and visual reinforcement on the cards, which all combine to aid in the encoding process.

Educators Should Intervene Frequently

Teachers should build time into each class period to check on students individually, reviewing their comfort level with the material, their progress in the class, and their overall well-being. By building these relationships, educators can effectively identify and address barriers, including learning differences or social and emotional issues. These professional practices are critical to ensure compliance with Educator’s Liability & Employment Practices Liability.

Students Should Practice, Practice, Practice

Once the brain encodes information, it goes into long-term memory. Then, working memory can actively retrieve it. Practice testing is an excellent way to retrieve information from long-term memory and make it accessible for testing. Review games provide an excellent forum for retrieving information from long-term memory. Educators frequently incorporate fun techniques. Ultimately, some of these techniques include online apps, modified game show formats, and everyday objects. These techniques help create engaging review lessons as part of their test preparation strategy.

Some educators use bingo. Furthermore, this is especially useful with vocabulary words. Some teachers use Jeopardy, which can become a tremendous quizzing style. Others use Jenga blocks to correspond with study questions. Teachers sometimes use physical buzzers or apps to create a Family Feud-style team with reviews or competitive review games. 

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