Test Taking Strategies for Middle School: The Ultimate Guide

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Whether you are a middle school student preparing for an important test or a parent that’s looking for the right information to help your child excel in their middle school test, you’ve come to the right place. Tests are generally difficult for anyone, and the whole preparation process can seem like stress to teenage students. Fortunately, there are available strategies that can be adopted for reducing test anxiety in middle school students. These strategies are also effective for helping students pass their tests with ease.

This article focuses on laying the right foundation that middle school students will need when preparing for any test.

Why are Test Taking Strategies Important?Why are Test Taking Strategies Important?

The days before a major test is usually occupied with lots of studies for any student. However, beyond the hours of detailed studies, you want to also pay attention to learning the right test-taking strategies for the particular test you are preparing for. After all, a small investment of time to think about the techniques you can use before and during the test will massively impact your performance. Beyond improved performance levels, here are other benefits of knowing and adopting the right test-taking strategies.

Helps students overcome anxiety

Students would often find themselves facing anxiety when preparing for major tests. Even after studying well, students still find themselves freezing up on the test date and forgetting what they’ve read. To overcome the anxiety that comes with tests, students must pay more attention to learning the right test-taking skills. There’s no doubt that a knowledge of the right test-taking strategies will help students recall information properly. Therefore, while studying for tests, students must also pay attention to incorporating the right test-taking strategies since it helps them perform better.

Helps students dispel the myths surrounding tests

Students typically face different kinds of exams throughout school. This means that students need to learn how to tackle each type of test uniquely before facing it. Understanding the right test-taking strategies for each test will help students to use everything they know and recall when answering test questions.

As a student, you’ll also be able to rely on real facts when preparing for any exams. There are common myths surrounding different types of tests, but a clear understanding of the right exam preparation strategies for students will help you know when to dispel these rumors.

Students can leverage insider information to maximize exam preparation

Understanding test preparation strategies typically means that students have insider information into how to go about facing a test. For example, in some tests, students don’t lose the entire mark for a question when they provide incorrect answers to such questions. This means that students must try to attempt every question, even when they are unsure of the answer. However, you may not know this if you do not pay adequate attention to test preparation strategies.

What are the Different Types of Test Questions in Middle School?

What are the Different Types of Test Questions in Middle School?

We’ve talked about the benefits of understanding the right test-taking strategies for each type of test. However, before that, you should first understand that there are different types of tests. As a middle schooler, you can expect different types of tests throughout your middle school years and subsequently. A proper understanding of these tests and how to handle them will help to make acing them easier. To help, we’ve dedicated this section to review some of the most common types of tests in middle school. Properly understanding them will help you know what to expect in each.


This type of question is popular across different school levels. It is typically used to assess students’ understanding of a statement’s validity. The questions take the structure of a statement, with two answer options labeled “true” and “false,” respectively. Students choose one of the two options based on their perceived correctness or wrongness. Please note that you can only pick the “true” option if the statement is entirely correct. Look out for keywords like “never” or “always,” as they’ll be instrumental in deciding the final answer.

Multiple Choice

Another popular type of test is the multiple-choice test. In this case, a question is provided with multiple answer options labeled alphabetically. Students are expected to choose the answer option that best answers the question. Of course, there can be two or more correct answers among the options, and this is why students must read carefully and look out for the best answer to each question. Choosing more than one option for this type of question will result in a score of zero for that question.


This type of test is designed to test the ability of students to arrange items into sequential order. All the answer options are usually part of a larger answer body broken down into smaller pieces. Students have to properly understand the question and arrange the answer options in the right other. For instance, students may be asked to provide the right ascending arrangement for group options. In such cases, they must pick the options from the least to the most or from the smallest to the biggest.

Short answer

Students will come across this type of test several times during their middle school years. This type of test typically assesses students’ ability to create, reason, synthesize, analyze and evaluate materials. Questions in this test generally require exact answers. Here, students don’t need to beat around the bush. Instead, they’ll read and understand the questions, then provide short and direct answers based on their reading materials’ content. Bear in mind that some questions in this type of test will require students to write a brief description, make a list, draw a map, or even perform a calculation. Students must watch out for specific instructions for each question to know what’s required of them.


As the name indicates, this type of test contains questions with blank spaces. This type of test differs from the others listed above in structure and goals. The main goal of Fill-in-the-blank tests is to test students’ ability to recall what they’ve been taught. Unlike the multiple-choice and yes or no tests, this one tests students’ knowledge of individual concepts and terms at a deeper level. Let’s mention at this point that questions are generally direct and clear in this type of exam, so if you’ve put in the right level of preparation, you’ll get it rightly.

How Do You Study for a Middle School Test?

How Do You Study for a Middle School Test?

Middle school comes with several unique challenges for students, and these challenges can be overwhelming for young teenagers. One of such challenges that every middle school student has to face is preparing for tests. Students face several tests throughout middle school years, and unless they pay attention to adequate preparation, these tests may be difficult for them. Of course, there are effective strategies that you can adopt to make the best out of your study time. This article focuses on reviewing some tips that will help you study better for your middle school test.

Pay proper attention in class

This one is a no-brainer. Good studying begins in the class. Many people do not know that studying starts a long time before they actually open their books. Paying attention in class and taking good notes set you on the part to effective studying. Therefore, you must make efforts to pay attention in class. Consider changing seats if the present sitting arrangement puts you close to a noisemaker or in a location where it’s difficult to see the board.

Good notes facilitate easier studying

Yes, there are textbooks and reading materials, but these materials don’t contain everything. During class, your teacher would mention several things that are not in the textbooks. You’ll likely see these things in test questions and not having them in your note sets you up for failure. Try your best to use clear handwriting when taking notes so that it would be easy for you to read your notes when you need to. Educators also advise keeping your notes, papers, and quizzes organized for easier reference.

Plan ahead

Many students wait until the night before a test to start studying, but that’s a wrong strategy. Apart from the limited time, you’ll have to read everything; rushing makes it difficult for you to perform optimally. Yes, we all procrastinate once in a while, but making a habit out of it is bad. An excellent way to ensure that you are not stuck with reading a whole material a few hours before exams is planning ahead. Get a good calendar to write down due dates for your tests and assignments. With that, you can allot daily tasks to accomplish after school. If lessons and extra-curricular activities make it difficult for you to study, you can talk to your parents or teacher about it.

Seek help from teachers and friends

Studying is usually more difficult when you do not understand the material. Therefore, it’s important to strive to understand available material before studying. You can always approach your teacher for help if anything seems confusing for you. You can also join study groups or make friends with a serious student to explain difficult concepts to you. Available evidence shows that working together with serious students can help students understand difficult concepts.

How Long Should You Study for a Test in Middle School?

How Long Should You Study for a Test in Middle School?

Unless you are a genius, you’ll likely find it incredibly obtaining and storing vast amounts of information within a short time. Most people find that they need to break up learning into several sessions to allow the mind enough time to process the knowledge acquired. The brain takes time to form new memories, and continually studying flat out can hinder the memorization process. Experts recommend taking a 5 to 10 minutes break between every 30 to 50 minutes of studying. If possible, you can use this time to do something physical as this can help to get your blood pumping again and your brain more alert. A simple jog around the house or a time out with your pet would do. Anything to get you moving! However, avoid wearing yourself out during this exercise to avoid defeating the whole purpose.

How to Reduce Test Anxiety for Middle School Students?

How to Reduce Test Anxiety for Middle School Students?

Tests and the anxiety that comes with them are a normal part of middle school life. While most people may be used to writing tests, not many people are used to the anxiety that comes with writing these tests. Unfortunately, anxiety can make even the most brilliant students confused when faced with exams. However, it’s possible to reduce the anxiety and focus your energy on preparing for your exams. Here are a few strategies that middle school students can adopt to push the anxiety away.

Sufficient sleep

While it’s a no-brainer that sufficient sleep improves our overall health, not many people realize that it also helps brain health. Studies show that sufficient sleep can help to improve focus, learning, and the ability to retain information. Students tend to be less anxious about a test if they get enough sleep the night before the test.

Maintaining a healthy diet

It’s normal to see students struggling to concentrate on an empty stomach. We often see students turn to junk since they barely have enough time to prepare good foods. However, even that’s not advised considering that it can spike sugar levels. Research shows that maintaining a healthy diet will improve students’ focus and help them perform better in tests. Therefore, we recommend sticking to a healthy diet before and during test periods.

Practice efficient relaxation techniques

Calming exercises like deep breathing, meditating, and yoga can effectively reduce test anxiety. Medical experts often advise patients to practice more relaxation when faced with anxiety. This can work for students too, especially if they can practice the relaxation techniques regularly.

3 Test Preparation Strategies for Middle School Students

3 Test Preparation Strategies for Middle School Students

Preparing for a test can be an overwhelming experience for anybody. Middle school students especially feel pressured as there’s so much to do at once. Of course, doing the right things during the preparation stage can help you perform better in your exams. Here are our top 3 examination preparation strategies that middle school students can follow to achieve success.

Ensure that you have a firm foundation in the skill that will be tested

Different tests feature different structures. However, irrespective of structure, a test would likely not deviate from what has been covered in class. Therefore, your test preparation stage is an opportunity to revise everything that needs revising. Run through your books and recall most of the things that the teacher has said in class. If they’ve talked about a particular exam structure, this is the time to learn about such structures. Don’t overlook anything.

Take steps that will help you overcome anxiety

Beyond inefficient studying, nothing sets a student up for failure as much as anxiety. Even very bright students can experience setbacks as a result of anxiety. Your test preparation stage is the time for you to overcome anxiety. Take steps that will help you get over the anxiety before the exam date. We’ve listed some strategies that can help in the section above.

Form study groups

Studying would definitely get boring at some point when you are preparing for a test. At this point, spicing up your study time can help push up your interest and motivate you through your study time. Teaming up with other serious students can help put you ahead of the curve as far as your test preparation is concerned. A good study group will not only help you study better, but it’ll help keep you motivated, even in periods when your interest is getting low.

5 Test Taking Tips for Middle School

5 Test Taking Tips for Middle School

Test periods are among the most trying periods for students generally, and knowing what to do when faced with test situations can help you ace any test. Here are useful test-taking tips that will help you overcome your initial fear and approach test questions better.

First, ensure adequate studying

Yes, everybody’s supposed to know this, but you’ll be surprised at how difficult it is to beat distractions. Never give up on studying before a test. After all, efficient studying helps you worry less during a test.

Listen carefully to every instruction

Every test has its unique instructions, and students must understand these instructions to avoid unnecessary errors when answering questions. Therefore, you should listen to your teacher’s instructions while they are handing out the questions. You should also read all written instructions before you begin answering the questions.

Focus on addressing each question individually

One thing we see many times is students using generalized ideas to answer any questions. While this may seem faster, it can lead to serious errors. Approach each question independently. Read the question carefully and provide the right answer before moving to the next. You can jump a question that feels too difficult and come back to it later.


We understand your nervousness during a test. Most students also feel nervous during tests, but this nervousness won’t add any good to you. Therefore, it’s best to drop it before entering the test hall. If you are in the test hall and it seems like everything is running too fast, slow down, breath in and out before continuing. This way, your brain and body muscles will feel fresh again.

Take time to cross check your work

Most teachers do not have a problem with submitting early, but you should also not be in too much rush to submit. It’s usually recommended for students to spend any additional time cross-checking their answers to avoid unnecessary mistakes. You can also leverage this time to add details that you probably didn’t have enough time to add.

Wrapping Things Up: Test Taking Strategies for Middle School Students

There you have it, effective test-taking strategies that can help any student excel. Students don’t have to be afraid of tests again, not when they can prepare better and follow the right steps in test halls. Compare your test-taking strategies checklist with the information in this article to see how prepared you are. The information in this article can help anybody, but if you are still feeling terrified about tests, you can talk to a trained counselor about your fears.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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