Students in a classroom taking a test at their desks

No matter what school system you work in, testing is a part of life. Whether the assessments are happening during class periods or as part of a national or local examination period, tests are common occurrences in the school year. When tests become sources of stress and scratchiness for students, educators can help kids work through their strengths so that they are better equipped to succeed.

In this post, I’ll share a few test taking strategies that honor each of the Emergenetics® Behavioral Attributes. That way, educators and students can choose to focus on certain tips over others based on their environment and testing parameters.

The great news is that every person will fall somewhere on the continuum of Expressiveness, Assertiveness and Flexibility, so teachers can feel confident that these tactics will resonate with their class. If kids have access to their Youth Reports, they can focus on the specific strategies that align to their preferences. Even if students do not know their preferred Attributes, educators can still share each of the practices and encourage kids to use whichever ones feel most helpful.

Honoring Expressiveness

In the Test

Individuals in the first-third of Expressiveness tend to appreciate having opportunities to quietly gather their thoughts before responding, while those in the third-third of Expressiveness often enjoy talking through their thoughts.

Testing environments typically support youth with a first-third tendency, since they are designed to be quiet spaces. Still, simple acts like having kids unwrap any snacks or keeping all the materials they might need within arm’s reach can create an even more contemplative atmosphere.

To help those in the third-third, invite students to write down the thoughts they are working through and can’t express out loud. Having access to scratch paper or making notes in the margins may stimulate better processing.

Understanding both of these strategies benefits individuals in the second-third who may lean toward either style depending on the day.

After the Test

Having brain breaks between exams amplifies success because they re-energize students and allow kids to concentrate on the task at hand. Considering Expressiveness, try providing a mix of activities such as meditation exercises and pairing up classmates for conversation.

Utilizing Assertiveness

In the Test

A person in the first-third of Assertiveness generally likes to maintain a calm pace, while individuals in the third-third usually enjoy a faster pace.

First-third students often appreciate having a clear understanding of the amount of time they should expect to spend on each question or section. Encouraging them to create a schedule to get through the testing items at a steady rate can be helpful.

Those in the third-third may race through the exam or even delay starting until a bit of time has passed since they often welcome pressure. To play to their strengths, consider framing the assessment as a competition, set goals for completion time or encourage them to challenge themselves to double check every answer.

Second-third students can utilize either strategy, based on what is speaking to them in the moment.

After the Test

To recharge, invite the class to participate in a game or two. Kids in the first-third may gravitate toward a soothing, cooperative game, while those in the third-third may like a quick, competitive one.

Leaning Into Flexibility

In the Test

The first-third of Flexibility typically enjoys staying the course with little disruption and deviation, while the third-third gets energy from exploring options and multitasking.

In the testing environment, individuals in the first-third will usually get energy from approaching each question, one by one. They might also benefit from having dividers between themselves and other classmates to limit distractions.

In comparison, youth who prefer third-third Flexibility may be more successful if they skip around to different questions, rather than answer them in a defined order. It’s also beneficial to introduce options into their environment, like having a variety of snacks available or multi-colored pens/pencils to choose from to use on their scratch paper.

Any of these approaches may serve second-third students, so encourage them to adopt whatever method feels best at the time.

After the Test

Every kid, no matter their tendencies for Flexibility, will appreciate having a choice in how they re-engage after sitting for an exam. Providing options – whether those are games, mindfulness exercises or physical activities – will support an energy boost.

By tapping into their innate preference, students can unlock new strategies to complete their exams as well as fuel their motivation and focus between testing periods. And teachers – don’t forget that while these tactics are designed for kids, they may provide you with some inspiration as well. Proctoring an exam can be exhausting, depending on your tendencies, so it’s important to think about what you can do to recharge afterwards.

Interested in discovering more ways to use the Attributes to support your class? Explore our offerings or fill out the form below to speak with one of our team members today.

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