Much as I dislike it, our education system is centered around a child’s ability to take tests. And, when you work with as many learning-disabled children as I do (or as some teachers do), we usually focus on the academic content and the student being able to demonstrate that they know the content.

Non-academic test taking skills are often forgotten. It’s not surprising, I guess, since they are soft skills. And, IEP teams often don’t nurture the soft skills as much as the academics. And I find parents don’t recognize the soft skill deficits as often as the others.

A young boy in a blue shirt develops his test-taking skills by writing in a workbook with a yellow pencil, sitting at a wooden table.

In the realm of education, test-taking skills often take the spotlight. However, while mastering academic content is essential, developing non-academic test-taking skills is equally crucial.

Save The Post IEP Parent Form

📧 Save this for later? 📧

We can instantly send this to your inbox. Or, send to a friend.

These skills encompass strategies like time management, stress reduction, and critical thinking, which can significantly impact students’ performance in exams.

As teachers, advocates and parents, nurturing these skills early on is paramount for our students’ success.

To make this process engaging and enjoyable, here are ten interactive classroom games designed to hone non-academic test-taking skills in children.

Games to Practice Test Taking Skills

  1. Simon Says: Focus and Follow Instructions Objective: Enhance students’ ability to focus and follow directions accurately. How to Play: Play a traditional game of Simon Says, but add twists like incorporating test-related commands (e.g., “Simon says review the next question quietly”). Students must discern when to follow the test-related instructions and when not to, promoting attentiveness and discernment.
  2. Musical Chairs: Time Management Objective: Improve time management skills and decision-making under pressure. How to Play: Use a timer and play musical chairs. Each time the music stops, students must quickly choose the best answer to a practice question before finding a seat. This simulates the time constraints of a test while encouraging swift but accurate decision-making.
  3. Pictionary Challenge: Critical Thinking Objective: Develop critical thinking skills and encourage reasoning under pressure. How to Play: Divide students into teams and give them test-related scenarios or questions to draw. The team members must decipher the drawings and explain their thought process, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  4. Charades: Communicating Under Pressure Objective: Enhance non-verbal communication and clarity under stress. How to Play: Have students act out test-taking scenarios or emotions without using words, such as “frustration,” “confusion,” or “confidence.” This game helps students recognize and express their feelings during exams, facilitating emotional intelligence.
  5. Memory Match: Reviewing and Recalling Information Objective: Strengthen memory retention and recall skills. How to Play: Create a memory match game with test-related content. Students must match question-answer pairs under a time limit. This activity reinforces the importance of reviewing information before answering and improves memory recall under pressure.
  6. Jigsaw Puzzle Race: Problem-Solving and Collaboration Objective: Foster teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability. How to Play: Provide each group with a jigsaw puzzle related to a test-taking strategy or scenario. Students must work together to solve the puzzle within a set time, simulating the need for collaboration and adaptability during exams.
  7. Hot Potato: Handling Stress and Pressure Objective: Manage stress and maintain composure under pressure. How to Play: Pass around a soft object (the “hot potato”) while students answer rapid-fire test-related questions. If a student hesitates or shows signs of stress, they are out. This game helps students practice staying calm and focused under pressure.
  8. Guess Who?: Analyzing and Eliminating Options Objective: Improve deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills. How to Play: Create a modified version of the Guess Who? board game with characters representing different test-taking strategies (e.g., “The Reviewer,” “The Time Manager”). Students must ask yes/no questions to eliminate characters and identify the test-taking strategy each character represents.
  9. Role-Play Scenarios: Decision-Making and Self-Advocacy Objective: Enhance decision-making skills and assertiveness. How to Play: Assign students roles in various test-taking scenarios (e.g., requesting a break, dealing with distractions). They must act out the scenario and discuss the most effective course of action, promoting self-advocacy and critical decision-making.
  10. Escape Room Challenge: Problem-Solving and Strategy Objective: Encourage strategic thinking and adaptability. How to Play: Design an escape room challenge with puzzles related to test-taking skills. Students must solve each puzzle to “escape” within a time limit, emphasizing the importance of strategic thinking and adapting to new situations during exams.

Mastering non-academic test-taking skills is essential for students’ overall success in academic assessments. By integrating these ten interactive classroom games into our teaching strategies, we can effectively cultivate these skills in our students while making learning engaging and enjoyable.

Let’s empower our students to approach tests with confidence, resilience, and the strategic mindset needed for success.

Testing, 1, 2, 3……….

Free IEP Binder
Featured Image