Tips for Staying Confident While Taking Tests

Whether it's the SATs, the Regents, the ACTs, any of the many state exams (here in Massachusetts we have the MCAS) or our teacher exams staying confident before and throughout the test is so important. In this post is a free PDF printout with tips for staying confident while taking tests.

Whether it's the SATs, the Regents, the ACTs, any of the many state exams (here in Massachusetts we have the MCAS) or our teacher exams staying confident before and throughout the test is so important.

I like to tell my students about the day I took my mathematics teacher test. Hundreds of other teachers and prospective teachers gathered in a high school auditorium to hear about the cell phone policy and to eventually be directed to the classrooms where they'd spend the next 4 hours. 

Some looked nervous, others looked confident. It was amazing that so many of us were all there for the same reason. I was one of the nervous ones, but was holding it together for the most part.

Until.... one person assigned to our classroom was late. 

I mean, like 20 minutes late. No one got their test until she arrived, so we all waited there in the excruciating silence for what seemed like an eternity. I had been resting my hands on my desk while attempting to do some sort of makeshift breathing exercise that wasn't at all working to keep me calm. 

When all test-takers were finally accounted for and the administrator got around to handing me my test, I left two hand-shaped puddles of sweat as I reached for it. The next thing I knew, everyone else was gone, time was being called and everything I looked at appeared as though it was painted onto a screen. My depth perception was completely gone as I hobbled back onto the train to go home. Six weeks later, my scores arrived. I passed.

test prep foldable for student confidence

My wish is that no kid ever feels like I did that day, which is why I made this folding notebook sheet. Test-taking is a skill, but it's a skill that is different from any other skill we acquire from practice. The skill here is staying calm, letting our human brains do their magic to recall all of the things we have learned. 

When we're nervous, the flight or fight brain takes over, our vision becomes crisp, our muscles become tense, we start to sweat (ahem, some more than others) and suddenly everything we have learned is gone. We feel like failures, which makes it that much worse the next time.

test preparation strategies and tips foldable for an inb

This folding notebook sheet, with tips I collected for a few years, is meant to calm kids down, give them some strategies and build their confidence. What I lacked that day was confidence, even though I had spent months preparing. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we got this!

Editable "Math Boss" Pennant to boost math confidence

Sometimes students need a standing, constant reminder that they CAN do it. The name on this "Math Boss" pennant can be edited so that each student can have a pennant that says his or her name. 

Math Boss Pennant

Students can then color and hang their pennants as a reminder of how awesome they are! My friend Mandy from Math Dyal sent me this great photo. She edited the name section on the pennants to say "YOU"! She's an awesome math teacher.

 product_0 product_0product_1product_2 Preview Subject Math, Test Preparation, Classroom Community Grade Levels Not Grade Specific Resource Type Activities, Bulletin Board Ideas, Math Centers Product Rating N/A • not yet rated File Type Compressed Zip File Be sure that you have an application to open this file type before downloading and/or purchasing.  3 MB|8 pages   Product Description Student confidence is everything when it comes to math. While preparing for tests or even during daily classwork, sometimes students need an extra boost of confidence. With this download, each student can have their own name printed right onto a pennant that states that yes, they CAN do math!   First, each student gets a choice board to choose the style they'd like for their pennant. There are 7 styles to choose from. Once students choose, you can type in each student's name onto their chosen pennant. The editable version is a powerpoint file that has a space to type each student's name. There is also a pdf version of the pennants included that you can print and allow students to write in their own names.  The completed pennants are also great classroom decor on a bulletin board in your classroom or in the hall. They act as a reminder all year that yes, we CAN do math!  You may also like: Earth Day Pennant Math Pennants Growing Bundle    Total Pages 8 Answer Key N/A Teaching Duration N/A Report Copyright Infringement Comments & Ratings Product Q & A Average Ratings Overall Quality: N/A Accuracy: N/A Practicality: N/A Thoroughness: N/A Creativity: N/A Clarity: N/A Total: N/A not yet rated Comments and Ratings This product has not yet been rated.

My favorite part of our classroom is our "Fridge" where we hang student work. The best part about this student work bulletin board is that on bad days - days when a kid is tired or lacking confidence - we can both look at the wall and see that yes, we CAN do it. 

I made these editable "Math Boss" pennants for just this reason. Each kid can choose one of 7 pennant styles and have his of her name typed right onto it.

Editable "Math Boss" Pennant to boost math confidence

They serve as a constant reminder that confidence is key to success when it comes to taking tests. And that we can do anything we set out to do.

Scaffolded Math and Science top blog posts

You can find the free test-prep folding sheet here.

Tips for Staying Confident While Taking Tests with a test prep foldable and a confidence boosting pennant


  1. Awesome idea. Going to do it this year. Thanks

  2. My kids LOVE your pennants! As soon as my husband lets me out of "over-budget teacher" jail, I'm buying them.

    1. LOLLL!! We put ourselves on a strict 6-week budget over here. No going out to eat (boo hoo) and no Amazon! I mean, what is life??

    2. Really great engagement ideas!! Planning to use your get acquainted pennants when scholars return for new year!

    3. Thank you Lennetta! I hope you have a wonderful year!

  3. Love this...Thank you! :)

    1. Thank you Toni! I hope you are having a great year!

  4. Test-taking is a great skill that teachers have to prepare the test for students. Planning the test and execute it is a big mission. Thank you for sharing these tips for those who are fresher in a teaching career. I'm also one of them and I'm so glad that I found this blog.