Heron Publishing: All About Reading


Good notes about your reading and lectures are the basis for great test results. The main ideas tell you what the essay questions will be, and the details and facts tell you the multiple-choice questions. Write out the questions you predict, and then write out the answers.

If you need help to prepare yourself to earn excellent test scores

If you need help with specific test questions, click here

If you need help to overcome your fear of tests, click here

If you need help to improve your reading comprehension, click here


Prepare yourself to earn excellent test scores:

  • Sleep at least six hours the night before and eat properly. Plan to take unwrapped candy with you to keep up your blood sugar levels.
  • Set aside at least two, #2 pencils with erasers, two pens, paper and a watch.
  • Time yourself so you attempt as many questions as possible. Follow the time allotment per question to maximize your score.
  • Answer the questions you know rapidly and make small checks next to the ones you will skip to answer later. Go back and answer skipped questions by eliminating wrong answers. Reason logically. Measure, count, and check models carefully.
  • Fill in the answer bubbles with only two or three strokes. Polishing bubbles wastes time. Double-check your answers to make sure that they correspond to the correctly numbered bubbles

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Help with specific test questions:

  • Realize that you have had much experience in answering questions about main ideas and details since kindergarten. Fact questions include elements of number, color, form or shape, size, and sequence.
  • Make inferences by drawing logical conclusions about a character and his motives or the author and his point of view. Look at the author’s choice of adjectives, adverbs and other words for clues. Make judgments about good and bad, right and wrong, by asking yourself what your parents or teacher would say.
  • Look for relationships when you are asked to compare two readings. They have been chosen because they represent two different points of view.
  • Read a blank sentence completion question and see if the correct answer pops into your mind. If it does, look for that. Otherwise, reread the sentence with the suggested pairs of answers and see what makes sense to you.
  • Examine models, maps, diagrams and charts with their labels to see what they mean. Then read the questions to interpret them. Look at your textbook and practice these types of questions so you feel confident.
  • Borrow from the school library or buy a sample test question book to practice analogies for the SAT or ACT.

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Overcome your fear of tests:

  • Olympic athletes “psych up” before their events by imagining themselves doing their sport perfectly. Imagine yourself entering the test situation relaxed but alert, remembering the answers easily and leaving knowing you have done very well. Keep on saying positive things to yourself like “good job”, “nice answer”, “I’ll come back to this question and remember the answer”. If the little voice inside you expects failure, tell it to go away. You have outgrown it!
  • Prepare for your tests by improving your reading comprehension, note taking, and studying your school subjects.
  • If you are taking a formal test such as the SAT or ACT, or the required state graduation examinations, borrow or buy sample test question books so you understand and practice the types of questions they ask.
  • Learn to relax by breathing slowly, deeply, while gently shaking your hands. Close your eyes, then open them wide. Think of the most pleasant thing you know. Then, go right back to work refreshed and ever more alert.
  • Visualize your teacher writing the answer on the blackboard or hear him explain the answer in class. Remember, all you have studied is in your mind. Relax to remember it.

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