Dust off your #2 pencils and prepare to conquer the STAAR test with these 5 tips.

1. Sleep well, eat well and arrive comfy

To be alert and ready to dominate, treat yourself to plenty of rest so that you stay energized throughout the week of testing. Each morning, eat a balanced breakfast that will power up your brain. Dress in clothes that are comfortable. When you eat, sleep and dress for testing, you are inviting your whole mind to focus where you need it most.

2. Don’t stress

Relax, be confident and stay positive. “How?!”

  1. Pack for school the nights before test days to avoid a mad rush in the morning.
  2. Arrive at school a bit early and think positive thoughts. Picture yourself staying cool and calm. You’ve got this.
  3. Don’t talk to stressed out friends before the test because stress is contagious.
  4. When you are battling a tricky part of the test, don’t beat yourself up. Do your absolute best and don’t stress the rest.
  5. Too late? You’re panicking already? Get back to your zen place with slow, deep breaths. Do this throughout each testing day to get back to your focused, happy place.

3. Take a quick tour

As soon as you hear the cue to start your test, take a quick tour and briefly flip through the test. Knowing what is waiting for you allows you to plan your time more carefully and it’s a nice way to avoid surprises.

4. Follow directions

Read the directions for each section. Carefully. Do it again. Let your rebel side come out to play on the weekend. Right now, follow directions and enjoy racking up a higher score.

5. Answer questions strategically

Boost your confidence and get off to a powerful start by answering easy multiple-choice questions first, when possible. Plan to do a first pass of the test, only answering the simpler problems. On your second pass through the test, cross out the obviously wrong answers to help improve your odds on the more challenging questions. If you notice two very similar answers to the same question, the odds are in your favor that one of those answers is likely correct. When in doubt, GUESS. Don’t leave any questions blank. Blanks won’t win you any points, so go for some solid guesses instead.

Best of luck, rock STAARs!

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