Math Test prep season is upon us. It will be only a few more weeks before teachers begin wrapping up new content and reviewing content from the year. Here are a few ideas and tips to try in your classroom to review.

## 1. Be Strategic

Review what students actually need to know. If your state provides a blueprint, focus on the skills that make up most of the test.

## 2. Brain Dump

Instead of starting with a mini-lesson, ask students to dump out everything they remember about a given topic. If you have been spiraling throughout the year, then students will not be starting at 0. Find out what students remember before you start instruction.

Our Cheat Sheets are perfect for this! And they are scaffolded too. Cheat Sheet A is completely open-ended, Cheat Sheet B is fill-in-the-blank, and Cheat Sheet C is complete and ready to be studied. There is a cheat sheet for every topic!

You can also get a free cheat sheet that covers the entire school year – more breadth over depth – by clicking here.

## 3. DIY Cheat Sheets

Provide students with a half-sheet or full piece of colored card stock and tell students to make their own cheat sheet for the entire review unit. While they can’t use it on the standardized test, you can tell students that it will be the perfect thing to review the night before. Quick tip: it always helps to have an exemplar to show them just how tiny handwriting can get.

## 4. Gamify Everything

I am just going to say it. Review can be kind of a slog. You need something to keep the energy up! If you can make even a typical worksheet into a race, way to earn points, or just an activity that gets students up and moving, then students will be more likely to try and retain the information. This blog post covers how to make any worksheet into an activity. Don’t forget – trashcanball, Grudgeball, dry erase markers on desks, etc.

## 5. Provide Activities for Practice

Not only do activities make math more engaging, but they provide variation to how students are solving problems – error analysis or categorization. Quick tip: if you can make your activities self-checking, students will feel confident moving forward. Our test review units include an activity for every topic!

## 6. Technology is Your Friend

If you use IXL, Khan Academy or another type of program, you are going to want to use it for review. All of your students will have varying needs and the most practical way to address those needs are through differentiating their review. This is hard to do with paper, but manageable with technology.

## 7. Provide Instant Feedback

Feedback is crucial to students’ learning and that is true during review. Our Test Prep Unit includes a 10-question quick check on every topic that is available on Google Forms. You could alter the settings so students can see what they missed immediately.

## 8. Practice Multiple Choice

Choosing answers is a skill. Ones that I had to remind my students of all the time include:

- Solve the problem before reading the multiple choice options. If you think this is an obvious recommendation, then you may have never taught middle school students who will just circle an answer without solving the problem.
- Eliminate answer choices that you know are wrong.

## 9. Practice the Test

Math test prep season isn’t complete without practicing the test! In Texas, the STAAR test went digital last year. Students will benefit from a refresher to know how the test looks and works. No one wants a missed problem because of technical mishaps. For Texas teachers, you can find online practice tests here. Maneuvering the Middle also has practice problems that reflect the look of the STAAR redesign.

If your state test is still paper, review using the formula chart, how many problems there are, and how many problems they should solve each hour to finish in time. Knowledge is power!

## 10. Go Self-Paced

If you are considering a self-paced classroom, a test prep unit may be a great place to pilot it for next year. You can be more active with your students who need more help and your students who just need review can carry on without you!

## 11. Be Excited!

I know I referred to review as a slog earlier in this post, so do as I say not as I do. Your students will match your energy! Keep it positive, keep the vibes strong, and do your best to not overwhelm your students. I used to put a lot of pressure on my classes hoping to spur my apathetic students into action, but all I did was stress out my students who cared and were already anxious.

## 12. Set Individual Goals

Once I figured out how to Mail Merge, providing individual goals to my students was a breeze. You can see how I provided goals to my students in the image below.

## 13. Work Backwards

Our district would take a benchmark right before Spring Break. I used that data to decide what skills needed to be reviewed before our standardized test. At the beginning of class, I would project a benchmark question to frame the day.

I would read the question.* “What percentage of students got this problem correct?” *Students make guesses. I reveal the percentage. Let’s say it was 50%. We don’t solve the problem at this time.

We review the skill and practice. By the end of class, we try the problem again and the goal is for more than 50% of students to get it right.

## 14. Don’t Start From Scratch

Enough time has passed that you can reuse and repurpose old unit test reviews and unit tests and quizzes. Drop those problems into a Kahoot or Quizizz.

## 15. Get a Reputable Resource

Test review covers SOOOO much information. I highly recommend our Test Prep Review Unit. It is comprehensive and covers all the TEKS and CCSS standards. Cheat sheets, 10 question quick checks, warm-ups, and activities! Your future self will thank you! How do you prepare for math test prep season?