Published: February 9, 2021
Test-taking has always been one of the most stressful parts of being a student. With so much at stake and only a limited amount of time to complete the task, it’s no wonder that tests are a significant cause of mental health problems for secondary and post-secondary students.
These anxieties have, in many cases, only been heightened with the shift to online schooling. After having put years into basic test-taking skills, many students have had to adapt on the fly to a completely new format, adding one more brick to the wall of social isolation and anxiety that large numbers of young people already feel trapped behind.
Unfortunately, with the pandemic still raging and vaccinations for the general population still months away, it is likely that students can expect to take most of this semester’s exams and tests in person — a matter of particular concern for those in their final year of studies, when scores will likely determine university or college admissions.
To help maximize the efficiency of your study time, here are five tips that can help students sharpen their online test-taking skills and approach their upcoming exams with a greater degree of confidence.
1. Understand the Difference Between Online and Paper Tests
Over the past year, students and teachers have been confronted with the fact that moving classes online isn’t as simple as it might sound. Things are possible in a classroom setting that just don’t work over zoom, and this is true of test-taking as well.
Different school boards have different approaches to monitoring and proctoring online tests, so at the beginning of the semester it is a good idea to find out exactly how online tests will be administered so you can get your child ready for online tutoring that is geared toward the new testing format.
2. Familiarize Yourself with the Guidelines
One of the most common pitfalls for students unfamiliar with online test-taking formats has less to do with the test itself and more to do with figuring out how to properly use the software and make sure their work is actually registered by the system.
While some progress has been made in communicating to students what steps they must take if they are to successfully complete an online test, students and teachers alike are still acclimatizing themselves to this very different approach to sitting a test or exam.
In order to reduce anxiety and improve confidence before an online exam, students should make sure they understand how the software works and what is expected of them so they can focus on studying the course material itself.
3. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
In some ways, of course, online tests are not significantly different from paper tests, and preparing for a unit test or exam should follow similar studying patterns.
One important aspect of this is identifying strengths and weaknesses so that you can get a private tutor in Calgary (if you live in Alberta) or an online tutor in Mississauga (if you live in the GTA) to help students master the parts of the curriculum they struggle with the most.
This goes beyond simply hiring the best English tutor in Toronto if a student is having a hard time with their English grades; it also means targeting the actual barriers to learning. For example, some students have an easy time understanding the concepts they are studying, but struggle to communicate them effectively in writing — understanding the significance of the play-within-a-play in Hamlet is not the same as being able to write a cogent five-paragraph essay about it.
A good English tutor can figure out what is holding a student back from achieving their full potential, and then teach them how to develop the concrete writing and critical thinking skills they need for long-term success.
4. Take Advantage of Test-Prep Resources
Education experts have long acknowledged that knowing how to take a test is just as important as understanding the material you are being tested on.
Test-taking is its own skill, and a student who knows the course material inside-out won’t necessarily get top marks if they aren’t also familiar with how tests work. This is especially true when students are switching to an online test, where it is easier to be distracted and lose track of time.
One of the best ways students can reap the benefits of online tutoring is by spending time on practice tests and then going over their results with a tutor who can identify where they went wrong and help them gain a better understanding of how the test works. This in turn will help them develop the distinct online test-taking skills they will need when exam season comes around.
5. Get Tutoring Help
Finally, one of the best things students struggling with particular subjects or topics can do is turn to online tutoring services for targeted support.
Tutors who have a strong knowledge of subjects like English, Math, or French and the pedagogical tools needed to help students overcome their learning obstacles can be a lifeline in the weeks leading up to an important exam.
Because tutors can provide personalized feedback, they make the studying process significantly more efficient, and can help students develop their online test-taking skills. Not only will this help them attain a firmer grasp on the material, it will also help them become confident enough to vanquish their exam anxiety.
Many education experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic will dramatically re-shape how schooling functions in the future, and it is likely that online testing is here to stay. This makes it all the more important to master essential online testing skills now, so students are prepared for a future in which taking exams on their laptop is the norm rather than the exception.
If you don’t want to make academic success a matter of trial and error, invest in professional test preparation training from Prep Academy Tutors today.