How I Prepare My Students For Testing

Tests can be quite overwhelming and can fill kids with anxiety. As a tutor, I think you have a great opportunity to get rid of some of that anxiety and help your students to be prepared. It's always helpful to talk to parents/teachers about the test and what will be on it. But if you don't know, you can still review skills and talk about test taking strategies.

I have outlined below how I typically prepare my students for testing. You'll find a list of review games for both elementary and middle school students as well!


1. Start out with a warm up review game (see list below).

2. Go over any homework, handouts, or study guides that were given to the student. If there aren't any, have a couple practice sheets ready to go.

3. Select a few problems/concepts/vocab words that the student is having a hard time with, and work on those on whiteboards together. Everything is more fun with those markers!

4. Play another review game.

5. Practice with flash cards. (Make them beforehand to have more time for reviewing, otherwise just make some quick ones with blank note cards.)

6. Play another review game (time allowing). Try a game on an iPad if you have one! It's always a nice way to change things up, plus kids usually love it.

7. Go over test taking tips. It's always good to remind students how to actually take the test when they get there. They shouldn't be rushing through, and it may be easier to skip harder questions and come back to them. Here are more test taking tips!

8. Leave your student with genuine encouragement! Don't just say “you got this, kiddo!” Make it more meaningful like “you worked really hard today with those flash cards, and you got them all right! I am confident that you will do your best tomorrow on the test!”

Review Games

Middle School

1. Start out with a quick review game (see list below).

2. Go over any study guides or chapter review questions that were given to the student. I like to really focus on these because test questions are pretty likely to come from them. Also have a couple practice sheets ready to go for extra practice. (Try these free math drill worksheets.)

3. Work on whiteboards together with problems and concepts the student has trouble with. Use different colored markers to make everything look more organized!

4. Go over previous homework and classroom notes. See if there are any questions. Try a couple homework problems again.

5. Practice with flash cards – these are great for math vocabulary, math facts and concepts, poetry terms, social studies facts, etc. It would help if the flash cards were done the previous week so that this session could focus on reviewing them.

6. Play another review game (if time allows).

7. Go over test taking tips! Yes even with older kids! Remind your student to read the directions more than once, and to always show work. Here are more test taking tips!

8. Leave your student with genuine encouragement! Your student may be really nervous, especially if this is a bigger test. Give specific encouragement like “I believe your hard work of studying and reviewing these skills will really pay off! I think this will be easier for you than last time.” Or maybe something like “you are a great student, no matter how this test goes. I know because of how hard you work every day on your homework, how responsible you are turning things in, and how much you listen in class.”

Review Games

  • Jeopardy
  • Bingo – try this game with algebraic equations, social studies facts, vocabulary, etc.
  • Playing cards – I don't think kids can ever be too old for these! 🙂
  • Math apps
  • Printable algebra game
  • Battleship Graphing
  • Play a game of matching flash cards, but make it harder with it being timed!
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