Tests Are Your Friends: How to Make Test Preparation Fun
Your current unit has come to a close, and you have put your heart and soul into your classroom activities over the past weeks. Your students have had a good time and have learned, too, and now comes the most dreaded part of all. No, it is not the unit end test but getting your students ready to take it. With all the creativity and energy you put into the lessons along the way, how can a review of the material be at all interesting? Here are some ideas to try the next time you have to get your students ready for the test.
How to Add Fun To Test Preparation
Let Your Students Write the Test
Well, maybe you do not want them writing the test itself, but you may want to let your class write the review questions. By assigning each person to write a specific number of review questions, either in class or for homework, they become the teachers during the review. As any teacher knows, teaching a subject only makes you know it even better, so having your students write the review and conduct their parts in class will make them experts on the information assigned to them. Depending on what your unit covered, you will need to break the information up among individuals or groups in your class. You can divide the information by page numbers (give each person one or more pages and the information on those pages), by topic (assign certain topics you have covered to individuals or groups), or randomly assign content by pulling topics out of a hat. No matter how you break the information into pieces, assign each person or group to write five or more review/potential test questions that cover the information. You may want to motivate them to do the best job they can by choosing to include one or more of the best questions in the test itself and letting them know you will be doing it. That way, the writer of that question should have no problem getting the answer right and neither should your class if they pay attention during the review!
Another way to let your students do the review starts once again by assigning topics to groups of students. This time, instead of writing review questions, ask each person to do one of two things. The first option is to teach the material to the class a second time. They can use any method they choose, and making them responsible for the review will ensure that they engage throughout the process. The second option is to present the information to the class in a creative way. They may choose to do a skit, a song or another presentation that will free them to think out of the box. The more outrageous the presentation, the more of an impact it will have on the viewers, and your class will be sure to remember the information during the test. If you make a habit of reviewing in this manner, your students just may get competitive about how creative they can be, and the end of every unit will become a celebration and students will look forward to it with energetic anticipation!
Make a Game of It
Perhaps the best method of test preparation is to play games with your class. You can find several ideas for ESL games on Busy Teacher, but here are some that work well specifically for review of material. Charades and Pictionary are great reviews of vocabulary you have covered in class. Not only will your students have fun, they will be energized with creativity and showmanship. To review content, try Jeopardy with your students. Though you will have to write the questions ahead of time, your students will have fun buzzing in, working in teams and getting in some terrific practice forming questions in English. If your students wrote test review question in the first activity, use those questions to play classroom baseball. Divide your class into two teams and get one team “up at bat” first. Designate each corner of the room as a base. Ask a question, and if the first person answers correctly, he walks ahead a base. If the answer is incorrect, he is out. Continue to play and only count points as players pass home plate. After three outs, the other team is up at bat. If you really want to make things tough on the teams, let the team “in the field” choose the review questions to ask of the players at bat. They must know the answer to the question they ask, but they can use their books and notes and work together to come up with the questions. If the team asking the questions gives a bad question, the other team automatically scores a point.
Test review does not have to be the most boring part of the unit.
In fact, it can be fun and engaging and something your students look forward to the day before a test. By putting the material in the hands of your students, they not only review the material but also put themselves in the role of teacher cementing the information in their minds like no other activity can.
Susan likes to enjoy every day to its fullest whether she is freelance writing, teaching homeschoolers, or developing her special talent of instigation. When she is not imagining sand castles or catching others off balance, she cooks, sings, reads and takes walks in the sunshine. She earned an M.A. from the University of Delaware in Linguistics and an M.A. from Trinity School for Ministry in Youth Ministry. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her wonderful husband and her three cheepy cockatiels.
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