Hopkins Academy

Tips for MCAS Success

In Features on May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

With the last few sessions of  MCAS quickly approaching for b0th the middle school students and sophomores, both teachers and students have been trying to cram in as much knowledge as possible, while still reviewing everything that has been learned so far this year. Sophomores especially have been stressing, mostly because they need to pass in order to graduate. For those students who are run down with all the MCAS prep work, don’t worry! This list of tips will help you prepare and pass your MCAS exams with ease.

  1. DO ALL OF THE REVIEW SHEETS: Teachers give out those boring MCAS review sheets for a reason, not just to give us students something to do. Even though they may seem tedious, repetitive, and pointless when you’re doing them, they will pay off when it comes down to remembering specific information during testing.
  2. EAT BREAKFAST THE DAY OF: Many have said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they’re probably right. Breakfast fuels you up for the day and keeps you alert and awake until lunchtime. This will be extremely important during MCAS because instead of focusing on how hungry you are, you can focus on the test in front of you. No time for breakfast? Grab something quick, like a granola bar or a piece of toast. Whether its something small, or you have your own personal feast, having some form of a healthy breakfast will help you power through that test, and pass with flying colors.
  3. EAT SOME PEPPERMINT DURING TESTING: You may have heard that peppermint makes you smarter. It doesn’t. What it really does is keep you alert, focused, and will cure any stomach issues that come with nerves. Sucking on a peppermint candy will keep you alert, because of the sugar content. Peppermint is a medicinal herb and has been scientifically proven to help with upset stomachs or heartburn, so if you have any nerves that are causing your tummy to turn sour, a peppermint will surely help. By chewing peppermint gum, you will also stay focused. This isn’t due to the peppermint though, but more so the chewing. Eating peppermint won’t magically make your test scores perfect, but it will help calm your nerves and stay concentrated on the task at hand.
  4. GO TO BED EARLY THE NIGHT BEFORE: This one’s a no brainer; lack of sleep equals a tired student, which is certainly not ideal if your taking a big test, like MCAS. Try your best to get to bed earlier than normal, and definitely don’t pull an all-nighter trying to force more knowledge into your head. Just by going to be one to two hours earlier the night before a big test will make you that much more alert and determined to pass.
  5. PACK A SNACK: During MCAS, you usually have a break in between sessions. If not, you will have time before the test to prepare. Use this time for munching on some brain food. Power bars or energy bars are an excellent snack to keep you focused, and anything with protein will keep your hunger down and your energy up. Any type of nuts, or even a peanut butter sandwich, are awesome snacks to have to keep your brain awake and the knowledge flowing.
  6. STAY CALM AND TRY NOT TO STRESS OUT TOO MUCH: This may come as a surprise, but if you stay calm, you might be better off during MCAS. Of course a little stress is okay; it will help you put your best effort into the test. But when you stress out over the little things, or get totally crazy over passing, then your nerves will probably get the best of you. Stay calm and stress only a little, and you will be sure to pass.
  7. DON’T SKIP ANY QUESTIONS: You may have heard that on standardize tests, like MCAS, you should skip any questions that you don’t know so that a wrong answer doesn’t affect your score. While this may be true for the PSATs and SATs, its not the case for MCAS. You should try your best at answering every question as best you can. Even if you don’t answer correctly, you’ll know that you tried the best you could.
  8. USE THE PROCESS OF ELIMINATION: MCAS is filled with multiple choice questions, each with four possible answers, which means that you have a 25% chance of getting the correct answer. This may not seem like a huge percentage, but if you automatically eliminate one or two answers that you know are wrong, then you have between a 33% and 50% chance of getting the answer right. Use the process of elimination if you don’t know the answer to a multiple choice question so that your chances of answering correctly are larger.
  9. TAKE YOUR TIME: Although you have a specific amount of time in which to complete your MCAS, its okay if you don’t finish in time. The teachers will always give you extra time to complete your work. The teachers want you to do your best just as much as you do, and usually they will let you get out of class, and use the rest of the school day to finish your work.
  10. REMEMBER THAT NOT GETTING A PERFECT SCORE IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD: It’s okay not to score perfectly on MCAS, so don’t excessively stress out. Even if you get a few wrong, you’re not going to fail. So don’t worry, because you WILL pass.
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