16 Easy Test Prep Tips for 2024

By Kirsten Hammond

State testing, whether we love it or hate it, is inevitable. While people may have varying opinions about standardized tests, it is important to get students prepared to take required assessments to the best of their abilities.

In this article, we will go into more depth and sharing helpful test prep tips for both teachers and students, covering a total of 16 important strategies.

First, I’ll discuss how teachers can help upper elementary students prepare for state tests. Then, I’ll share eight tips specifically for students (with a little freebie for you at the end of this article!).

These test prep tips are from my own experience with standardized testing with 3rd graders and 5th graders. Throughout the years, these tips have been helpful for both students and their parents.

Let’s get ready to ace those tests together!

girl test prep tips

Understanding Test Prep Tips: A Teacher’s Guide

As educators, it’s extremely important to prepare ourselves with effective strategies to support our students in navigating state standardized tests successfully. Here are eight essential test prep tips tailored for teachers:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format

Take the time to understand the format, question types, time limits, and specific instructions of your state test.

Utilize resources provided by your state education department to access previous tests and blueprints for comprehensive preparation. For Texas teachers, there are a variety of STAAR resources you can use with your students.

2. Review Content Standards

Make sure that your curriculum aligns seamlessly with the state standards being tested.

Review key content areas and skills to focus teaching efforts effectively.

3. Practice with Sample Questions

Integrate sample questions into your lessons to familiarize students with question types and to alleviate test anxiety.

Provide explanations for correct answers to reinforce understanding of the content.

4. Implement Test-Taking Strategies

Teach effective strategies for approaching different question types, managing time, and eliminating incorrect answer choices.

Encourage techniques like annotating passages and strategic elimination of answer choices.

girl taking test

5. Create a Positive Testing Environment

Foster a supportive atmosphere in the classroom, emphasizing the importance of doing one’s best and maintaining focus.

Encourage mindfulness and respect among students during testing. One of the common difficulties among upper elementary students is for them to sit quietly for the remainder of the test period. While many might be finished, there could be others that are still taking the test.

It is important to discuss that we have to be respectful during the testing session – read quietly or rest. No talking until everyone is finished.

6. Simulate Testing Conditions

Dedicate time to simulate similar testing conditions through mock tests, timed practice sessions, and controlled environments.

Help students build confidence and stamina for the actual test day. If the testing window is 4 hours, practice building testing stamina gradually until students are able to work for that specific amount of time.

7. Provide Individualized Support

Identify students who may need additional support and tailor instruction to meet their specific needs. It’s important to determine who may need extra support sooner rather than later!

Offer differentiated instruction to address mastery or extension of content standards. This can be done with a grade-level test prep power hour or enrichment time.

8. Communicate with Parents

Keep parents informed about the upcoming tests and provide resources for supporting their child’s preparation at home.

Foster open communication to address any concerns or questions parents may have regarding their child’s performance.

girl mom homework test

Empowering Students with Test Prep Strategies

Equipping students with effective study habits and test-taking strategies is important for their success. Here are eight actionable test prep tips for students to excel as they prepare for their standardized test or assessment:

  • Establish a Study Schedule
  • Plan Ahead
  • Rewrite Material in Your Own Words
  • Make Flashcards
  • Teach the Material to Someone Else
  • Create Your Own Study Guide
  • Redo Homework Problems
  • Review Major Concepts Regularly

I wanted to also share with you a student-friendly test prep handout! This handout has all the strategies with a brief description for each tip. This is a great printable to copy and give to your students and families and is applicable to virtually any test, whether it’s a classroom quiz or a standardized state test!

teacher with class


Mastering test prep can be done, but it takes collaboration and effort between teachers, students, and parents. By implementing these test prep tips, you can empower your students to approach standardized tests with confidence and competence.

Remember, consistent practice and strategic preparation are the keys to success for any level of student!

kirsten hammond

Kirsten is a former 3rd and 5th grade teacher who loves helping upper elementary teachers by creating resources and sharing ideas that are engaging, research-based, and TEKS-aligned. She is a work-from-home mama of 3 rambunctious little ones and loves running, true crime, and lots of coffee.

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