Testing Tips for PSSA and TerraNova

Mar 3, 2014 by Yolanda Fontanez-Coleman | Reading, Testing

As we approach the PSSA and TerraNova testing season, many students will feel a sense of worry and stress. There is a lot of pressure that is associated with these tests however if students are taught test taking strategies much of this stress can be reduced. Practice these strategies every day during homework time. The more these strategies are practiced the quicker they are mastered.

Skim The Questions: 

Read the questions before reading the passage. Save time by only reading the questions and NOT the answers. Reading the questions prior to the passage allows you to know what you will be “looking for” when reading.

Highlight or “Mark Up”

Highlight or mark up key words in the questions. For example, if the question requires you to find the main idea or problem, you will want to underline the main idea or problem. This highlighting will save you time when answering questions.  Also, be sure to highlight or “mark up” any important details within the passages. This will make it easier when you go back to find supporting details in your passages.

Read In Chunks or Sections: 

When reading the passage stop frequently and ask questions about what you are reading. For example, “What is this about? What is happening in the story?” As you stop and use these questioning techniques this will help you have a deeper understanding of the content you are reading.


Rereading is a great active reading strategy. Go back and reread any part  that may be unclear to you or if you need to double check your work. Your comprehension skills become more refined when using this strategy.

Try these simple test taking strategies when you are doing homework. Daily strategy practice can make all the difference when taking standardized tests. Do you have other test taking strategies that are helpful?




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