Preparing for and taking standardized tests One of the most distinctive and unique genres of text are standardized tests. These tests are directed at evaluating the skills of students from particular aspects. In these tests, students have to apply certain techniques that may be very different from what they are used to in their regular studies…
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Students can have access to a wide array of practice tests before actually appearing in the test. In the past, students had to go to academies in addition to their regular schools in order to prepare for the tests. Adjusting this extra work in an already busy schedule was quite of a challenge for many hard working students. Academies consumed a lot of their time as a result of which, students lagged behind in their regular home work. Even then, the quality of education would not be up to the mark because most of the energy was consumed in adjusting new activities into the schedule and then adjusting with it. In addition to that, academies popular for their history of good results used to charge the willing students quite a lot of fees which many students could not afford. Today, students can have free access to past tests, sample papers, preparing tips and test taking strategies. Internet makes a holistic approach to enhance the abilities of students from all aspects so that they become adequately equipped with the required skills before appearing in the exam. This not only saves students’ time, but also enables them to have quick access to the required information. The best thing about preparing for the standardized tests from the internet is that after going through the sample tests, a student gains a preliminary idea of the areas in which he/she is weak. This helps the student place particular emphasis upon the skill enhancement in that particular area. Many online test preparation sites recommend students to go through the sample tests once before the commencement of preparation, and the second time, after they think they have prepared sufficiently. The second test is no less useful than the first one because it provides the students with an insight into their skills and the extent to which they are really prepared for the standardized test next day. In the past, children liked going to academies not just for preparation, but also with a view to learning strategies and tips that would help them gain maximum marks in the minimal time. Today, the same purpose is served by internet. In fact, internet provides students with a much greater variety of strategies and tips all of which have been derived from the experience of past test takers. Although preparation of the standardized tests depends to much an extent, upon the individualistic preparation of a student, though teachers also have a special role to play in it. In order to ensure that all students are able to pass the standardized tests, it is imperative that teachers take out time from the regular classes to get the students prepared for the tests. According to Hollingworth (2007 cited in Tompkins, 2011) teachers can achieve this without compromising upon the regular instructional program in five ways discussed below: 1. Teachers should make sure that the curriculum standards imposed by their state are consistent with their program and adjust the material according to the requirements of the test. 2. Teachers should establish milestones with students and should regularly supervise their progress through informal assessments. 3. Teachers should involve students in authentic activities of literacy in order to make them potential writers and readers. 4. Teachers should narrate the test’s purpose to the students and discuss the way the results will impact their future, but should not increase the students’
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