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The 240Tutoring Testing Approach (Our Strategies to Passing Your Exam)

DID YOU KNOW that last year alone, 21,000 test takers failed their TExES exam by 10 points or less­­?  That is a matter of 3-5 questions!

21,000 failed by less than 10 points!

Ok, so how does this affect me?

240Tutoring set out on a mission to find a way for any test taker to raise their score by 10 points (even if the test is tomorrow)!

Bottom Line:

You need to have a plan. I can’t emphasize this enough.

We know you need a plan, so we created one for you:

The 240Tutoring Testing Approach

This will help you eliminate incorrect answers, understand the questions, and help you mentally and physically prepare for the test.

Today we are going to walk you through some techniques on approaching the test that will help you increase your score by up to 10 points.

Let’s get started…

Remember your goal

The goal is not a perfect score, but a passing score. To be successful on the exam you will need to get between 60% and 70% of the questions correct. The following strategies will try to maximize your ability to answer each question correctly.

remember-your-goal

The Night Before

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep.

It is not helpful to “cram” the night before. The best way to get a good night’s sleep is to study 60-90 days before the exam. Confidence makes for a deep sleep.

If you want to review the night before, that’s great. But do not sacrifice sleep in order to study.

Food for Thought

Do not deviate much from your normal daily routine.

Do not drink an extra cup of coffee. The extra caffeine will wear off and leave you feeling drowsy.

Avoid sugary breakfasts.

A healthy breakfast, such as oatmeal and eggs, is great because it will digest slowly.

food-for-thought

FACT: Studies show that individuals that have a balanced diet the week before an exam demonstrate higher test scores.  Try to avoid fast food, greasy meals, and high sugar foods.

General Strategies going into the Exam

1

Going into the exam knowing you have prepared is the single most important thing. Confidence, based on quality preparation, will help you succeed on the exam.

Try your best to set aside time 60-90 days before the exam to prepare. This will help you learn what you do not know and then give you time to work on those areas.

2

Don’t panic!

If at any point during the exam you begin to feel overwhelmed take a 5-10 minute break to relax. Activities to clear your mind, such as prayer, have proven helpful in calming and refocusing.

A calm mind is a clear mind.  Clear minds pass tests.

If you do panic, it’s ok and normal. It is best to calm down before continuing the exam.

During the Test

Remember: the goal is not a perfect score, but a passing score. This is very important.

The following strategies might seem tedious or strange, but they are proven to help achieve your goal–a passing score.

test-taking

How to Answer a Question

Step 1: Read the question for a general comprehension.

What is the question about? This first step is to get a general idea of the question and a framework for what is happening in the question.

Step 2: Re-read the question

The second time you read the question look for:

-What is the question asking? This is the sentence with the question mark at the end.

-What is the age of the students? (If students are mentioned)

-What information is important in the question? Not all information in the prompt is relevant for the question.

Step 3 & 4: Read each answer option, and then re-read each answer option.

As you first read the answer options, try to not make a judgment if it is a correct answer.

On the second reading, try to eliminate the incorrect answers BEFORE trying to identify the correct answer.

Identifying the Incorrect Answer

When you begin answering a question by trying to identify the correct answer option, the basic odds of answering the question correctly is 1 out of 4. But if you first eliminate 1, 2, or 3 incorrect answer choices then your odds DRAMATICALLY increase. While it seems silly to try to find the incorrect answer option, this is the best strategy to get a passing score.

To pass the exam you will need to answer 60%-70% of the questions correctly. If you are able to eliminate two answer choices immediately, then just by guessing you should get 50% of the questions correct.

But, you are not just guessing. You are using all of your studying and knowledge to decide the correct answer. You start the question by giving yourself the best chance of success and then you end the question by using all of your studying and knowledge to maximize that chance into a correct answer!

Go with your gut!

go-with-your-gut-giphy

It is tempting to over-think questions on the exam. The exam questions are supposed to be straight-forward; they are not designed to be trick questions.

Go with your gut!

With all of the studying and preparation, your gut is normally right. All that knowledge sinks into your brain and many times you know the correct answer, but cannot think of exactly why–that’s your subconscious knowledge telling you the correct answer.

Keep in Mind

Some questions will require you to demonstrate pedagogical knowledge–how to best engage students in the classroom. On these questions you must know that the test is a constructivist, student-centered learning exam. This means the test wants you to answer pedagogical questions a certain way. Characteristics of constructivist, student-centered learning include:

-Students are active participants in the class activity

-Priority is placed on students interacting with peers, ideally in small, heterogeneous groups

-Students should use age appropriate Bloom’s Thinking (students in 6th grade should be using higher order skills)

-Teachers should promote community in the classroom where each student feels valued and accepted

Stuck on a Question?

Do not waste all your mental energy on one question!

Yes, your mind gets tired, and a tired mind is a sloppy mind.

If you are stuck on one question, move on and come back to it at the end of the exam. If you use all of your energy on one question then you will not give yourself the best chance of success on other questions.

stuck-on-a-question

Now let’s put this into action!

Social Studies Example Question

Mrs. Dickinson, a new fourth grade social studies teacher, is working with her students to compare and contrast the contributions of two individuals, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, during the Revolutionary Period. In order to help students make comparisons like this, Mrs. Dickinson decides on a “concrete” strategy that she thinks will likely be most helpful to students both now and for future comparisons. Which of the following would be most helpful for Mrs. Dickson to use for this purpose?

A. Have a class discussion about the two individuals
B. Put students in pairs and have one student read about Washington and the other read about Jefferson, and then discuss their individual
C. Have students list all the important words from reading about both Washington and Jefferson
D. Teach and model for her students how to develop a Venn diagram that shows what is unique about each individual and also any likenesses

Look at the question (Steps 1 & 2)

Mrs. Dickinson, a new fourth grade social studies teacher, is working with her students to compare and contrast the contributions of two individuals, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, during the Revolutionary Period. In order to help students make comparisons like this, Mrs. Dickinson decides on a “concrete” strategy that she thinks will likely be most helpful to students both now and for future comparisons. Which of the following would be most helpful for Mrs. Dickinson to use for this purpose?

Now look at the answer choices (Steps 3 & 4)

Mrs. Dickinson, a new fourth grade social studies teacher, is working with her students to compare and contrast the contributions of two individuals, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, during the Revolutionary Period. In order to help students make comparisons like this, Mrs. Dickinson decides on a “concrete” strategy that she thinks will likely be most helpful to students both now and for future comparisons. Which of the following would be most helpful for Mrs. Dickson to use for this purpose?

A. Have a class discussion about the two individuals – This is just a discussion with nothing concrete added.
B. Put students in pairs and have one student read about Washington and the other read about Jefferson, and then discuss their individual – Just a discussion about the two individuals with no comparisons added would not likely be of help in discerning the differences and likenesses of these two people.
C. Have students list all the important words from reading about both Washington and Jefferson – Listing vocabulary does not offer any comparisons about the two individuals.
D. Teach and model for her students how to develop a Venn diagram that shows what is unique about each individual and also any likenesses – Using a Venn diagram allows the students to concretely view what was alike and what was different about Washington and Jefferson. A Venn diagram is when you make 2 (or 3) overlapping circles in which information is written and shown likenesses and differences. Any points that are alike or very similar are written in the overlapping parts of this kind of graphic representation.

Math Example Question

Mallory has $2.16 in her pocket to buy an apple and a bag of chips.  What information is needed to determine how much money Mallory will have left after she makes her purchase?

A. The cost of the apple and the chips
B. How many coins she has remaining
C. How many apples Mallory has in all
D. How many coins she used to make her purchase

Look at the question (Steps 1 & 2)

Mallory has $2.16 in her pocket to buy an apple and a bag of chips.  What information is needed to determine how much money Mallory will have left after she makes her purchase?

Now look at the answer choices (Steps 3 & 4)

Mallory has $2.16 in her pocket to buy an apple and a bag of chips.  What information is needed to determine how much money Mallory will have left after she makes her purchase?

A. The cost of the apple and the chips – Nowhere in the problem is the cost of the apple and chips mentioned. Until we know how much she spent, we cannot figure out how much money she has left.
B. How many coins she has remaining – This is not really relevant since the number of coins does not necessarily tell you how much money Mallory has. For example 10 coins could be as little as $.10 to as much $2.50 if we include only pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
C. How many apples Mallory has in all – This is also not relevant to this problem. Regardless of how many apples she might have now, we still do not know how much money she has spent.
D. How many coins she used to make her purchase – This might be an option if we knew the denominations of the coins she used. However just knowing the number of coins she used does not give us any information about the amount of money that she actually spent.

Got it?  Let’s look at a couple more.

English Example Question

Mr. Everett is having his students research a historical figure and present their research to the class in a ten minute presentation. Which of the following resources would be the best primary resources to begin with?

A. A current newspaper
B. A biography
C. A textbook
D. An autobiography

Look at the question (Steps 1 & 2)

Mr. Everett is having his students research a historical figure and present their research to the class in a ten minute presentation. Which of the following resources would be the best primary resources to begin with?

Now look at the answer choices (Steps 3 & 4)

Mr. Everett is having his students research a historical figure and present their research to the class in a ten minute presentation. Which of the following resources would be the best primary resources to begin with?

A. A current newspaper
B. A biography
C. A textbook
D. An autobiography An autobiographical study is work done in the author’s own words and is a primary source. This is the best starting point as the student will be exposed to the closest source for events in the figures life.

Science Example Question

A fourth grade class built a model of the solar system.  Each student group was responsible for building a representation of a planet, moon, or other object. Which limitation is the greatest concern for the class, with regards to the solar system model?

A. Lack of movement
B. Atmosphere cannot be represented
C. Student groups will want to build the same parts of the solar system
D. Planet sizes will not be built to scale

Look at the question (Steps 1 & 2)

A fourth grade class built a model of the solar system.  Each student group was responsible for building a representation of a planet, moon, or other object. Which limitation is the greatest concern for the class, with regards to the solar system model?

Now look at the answer choices (Steps 3 & 4)

A fourth grade class built a model of the solar system.  Each student group was responsible for building a representation of a planet, moon, or other object. Which limitation is the greatest concern for the class, with regards to the solar system model?

A. Lack of movement – The movement can be simulated with a correctly constructed model.
B. Atmosphere cannot be represented – The atmosphere is not an important part of the solar system model for this purpose.
C. Student groups will want to build the same parts of the solar system – Student choice can be eliminated with teacher direction.
D. Planet sizes will not be built to scale If every group builds their own representation, the parts of the solar system will not be in accurate proportion. The size of a model is a limitation.

These strategies will help you pass your exam, but you also have to know the content.  Check out our GUARANTEED Study Guides to help you pass and start your teaching career!

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