Fitting test prep into the school day? No problem! Making test prep fun? That’s the challenge! Check out these ideas for making test prep fun and enjoyable for your students.
How to Make Test Prep Fun
Do you remember Mary Poppins? She told the children it was time to tidy up the nursery.
Then she launched into her song “Spoon Full of Sugar” with the words “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and -SNAP!- the job’s a game!”
The same is true for test prep. While toys and books will hardly dance around the room, making test prep fun is as easy as finding something enjoyable in the process.
Do you need ideas on how to do that? Read on!
Use Interactive Technology
Sometimes adults despair that students are mesmerized by screens, but you can turn that into an educational advantage.
Technology and online resources can turn content review into a game. And who doesn’t like to play a game?
Select games and resources that require a student’s input and interaction. We love digital escape rooms and apps targeted for learning. Check out these articles:
Aren’t you amazed at the lengths that kids will go to for a rubber eraser or a lollipop? The power of a reward system or treasure bin is truly remarkable.
Set milestones for your class or individual students. You can offer incentives or small rewards when the students reach those milestones.
Is it worth trading a scratch-off for a child memorizing his 12s times tables? Absolutely? Would you give a desk pet if a student learned his set of sight words? Yes!
These little rewards not only motivate kids, but they also give them confidence that they can learn.
Nothing bonds a class like working together as a team. Compete against other classrooms and schools to memorize content.
You can keep track of points over a day or long term. (Hey, it worked for Hogwarts!)
Mix Team Building and Test Prep
Team Building and Ice Breaker-type games are perfectly adaptable to test prep. These interactive, large-group games go a long way in making test prep fun.
You can try Minute to Win-It-style games with review questions; that’s sure to be a hit.
Math review is especially adaptable to games. Try these review games and multiplication games.
Test prep is exhausting! It’s a mental workout that takes focus and energy.
Give your students a much-needed brain break by incorporating music, art, or movement into the day.
These brain breaks will actually increase productivity because your students will return to learning refreshed and energized.
Spice Up Your Test Prep with Multimedia
Students love an unexpected visual component. You can add a dose of the unexpected with cartoons, memes, funny videos, or movie clips that relate to your content.
These splashes of fun will keep your students from zoning out during test prep.
Flash cards are a fun and fast way to review. Put must-know content on flashcards and break them out at random times of the day.
I like to put my flashcards in a coffee can and stock it with concepts the class needs to review. “Let’s go to the coffee can!”
You can even stock the can with some reward cards, so even you are surprised when you pull out a card that says “30 Second Dance Party.”
Some kids are quick at answering flashcards; others need more time to process. It does not matter if the student is the 7th one to answer the flashcard (and she has heard the previous 6 responses). Flashcards are valuable tools to drill, recite, and retain.
Keep It Positive
Whining, complaining, and negative self-talk are contagious. Don’t let your class get in the habit!
Encourage a positive attitude and a can-do spirit. Demonstrate positive self-talk and teach students how to reframe their comments.
By cultivating a growth mindset, your class will be poised to do better on tests (and in life).
Incorporate Trivia Time
Adults play trivia for fun; why not students?
Divide your students into small groups and host a trivia challenge. You can intersperse some pop culture questions into your content review for added enjoyment.
You can also use a word scramble or word search generator to create entertaining worksheet reviews. The first team to complete the sheet wins a prize.
Try Project-Based Learning
Let students harness their creative and problem-solving skills with group projects that relate to your test content.
Projects require research into a topic and visual association (through art and design) that can make learning stick.
10 Ways to Make Test Prep Fun
When prepping for a test, channel your inner Mary Poppins (and dispel the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).
Add humor and the unexpected with games and multimedia. Incorporate all the senses with kinesthetic activities and project-based learning.
When you find the element of fun–SNAP!–test prep is enjoyable and effective.