Tackling Test Stress Tip 17: Set the Stage

When it comes to state-wide testing, sometimes teachers will need to rearrange desks from a group type setting to rows of desks or some other situation. Not only are desks rearranged, but the schedule of the day changes. One of my esteemed colleagues suggests that teachers make necessary changes several days before testing so that students aren’t thrown off during testing. Offering students the opportunity to become acclimated to the environment and schedule can alleviate some of the test related stress.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lnx/ / CC BY-NC 2.0


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  1. Tracy said:

    I agree that changes should be made ahead of time, so students can feel comfortable in the new and updated seating arrangements. Students as well as educators would like to get acclimated to a different schedule so that stress can be alleviated for everyone involved. Many learning support students will really like to know the changes ahead of time to reduce their stress levels.

  2. Veola said:

    I agree that a room should be prepared before the testing schedule. So when the students enter the testing facilities they their minds would be in exam mode. If the students have to try to prepare the class this might offset the students minds and they might become nervous during the exam.

  3. Nicci Mangano said:

    http://www.naadac.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=195&Itemid=77 lists resources fro exam preparation and test taking. The site lists how emotional preparation is important: it does affect scores and outcome.
    It also suggests that when taking a test to select your seating appropriately:
    1. Avoid sitting in aisles or by windows.
    2. Do not sit close to the door.
    3. Do not sit close to acquaintances or friends; you may find this distracting.
    4. If the lighting is poor, try to sit directly under a light.
    5. Wear a watch.
    6. Do not allow yourself to become distracted by others finishing the test and leaving the room before you.

    Personally I am a creature of habit and would have loved it if my teachers would have arranged the desks in test mode a few days ahead of time. I find it unnerving to walk into a room I’m accustomed with, to find it totally rearranged.

  4. Steve K said:

    I totally agree. I teach secondary special ed. My students are classified as Specific Learning Disability. Some would say they’re no different than the “average” student, except they have “holes” in key content or skill areas. One trait many of them do exhibit consistently is a difficulty with generalizing. A proficient skill in one day becomes a cause for concern when presented differently the next.

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