Combating Test Anxiety, Recap of the STAAR Workshop!

Combating Test Anxiety

Test anxiety can cripple students before they take a test. Sleepless nights, worry, and emotional instability during the test can all cause students to shut down mentally and physically. Help students recognize that, while the STAAR is important and can help them move to the next grade, it is not the end of the world if they perform poorly on it. Provide students a security net by reassuring that they have been preparing all year for this test. If they do not succeed the first time taking it, they can try again. Find some tips below to make sure your student performs at peak on test day!

Before test day

  • Get plenty of rest days before the STAAR Test (particularly the night before – it can be hard to sleep. Try to get to bed really early and don’t worry about studying the night before. Rest is more important this night!
  • Prepare for the content by practicing a practice STAAR exam on the TEA’s website. Note that there are multiple attempts available for students. 
  • Eat a nourishing dinner and breakfast, and perhaps take a b12 supplement (check with your doctor first if that’s okay!) for extra energy. 
  • Pack your backpack the night before, and choose your clothes before. Being on time will help you feel more confident!

During the test

  • Most students are allowed multiple breaks.
  • Don’t worry if your friend finishes the test before you. This is your test, no one else’s!
  • Take a bathroom break and drink plenty of water during the test. This helps you to be focused. If you find yourself rereading the same question over and over, take a water break.
  • Breathe. Oxygen helps your brain function and helps you get in “the zone” (where you can focus) easier
  • Be sure to check all your answers after you finish the test
  • Take. All. The. Time. You. Need.
  • If you are getting worked up while taking the test, just imagine yourself turning it in and walking out of the test. Then, slowly reach that goal by working through one question at a time. 

The STAAR is made up of content that your student has learned this past school year. If he/she is curious about what to review – we suggest taking a practice STAAR test at the following link:

The ITEM RATIONALES explains why the student may have chosen the wrong answer, and explains the reasoning behind the correct one. This is a great study tool!

Recap of the STAAR Workshop

On 3/30, students ranging from 3rd grade to 12th gathered in Austin to review techniques for the STAAR Reading and Writing test. Chris, owner of PST, and Jennifer, ELAR tutor, (along with some very helpful partners) led the group in a two-hour intense tutoring session. 

Students learned about two core elements to the STAAR Reading/Writing test: ANNOTATE and OUTLINE. We spent the most time on the Reading section of the STAAR – all students are required to take it, while only some are required to take the Writing exam.

We used an annotating bookmark to guide students in how to annotate and interact with both the text and questions – check it out!

Then, we briefly covered with the older students techniques of identifying certain types of questions regarding the main idea of only certain paragraphs, when to choose the best answer for particular excerpts, and how most answers will be true of the text but not of the question.


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Minute to win it game!

We had plenty of fun during the minute-to-win-it game at the end of our session – eating donuts from a string with a partner! No hands allowed! (If you use this game at your next birthday party, it’s sure to be a HIT!)

We look forward to engaging our students more and more in the learning process and want to ensure success for this year’s STAAR! SO, with that in mind, we’re hosting two more workshops in April and May for MATH review!


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