My 3 Favorite Strategies for Exciting Test Prep


As I write this, it still strikes me as crazy to be talking about test prep in February. In the past ten years, it seems like the test prep season has become longer each year as districts put more and more pressure on staff. It’s because of this that I’m constantly sharing engaging ideas for test prep with teachers. Several months of multiple choice test prep only leads to burnout for teachers and students.

Here are my 3 favorite (exciting) strategies for test prep:

1. Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is my passion, and how I teach most of the year. However, I know that many of you are restricted to certain curriculum, so PBL may be more doable during review time. Either way, PBL is a great way to have students learn and review the standards they struggled with. It has been especially helpful to me when preparing for the state math test, as students are able to review key math concepts in real life scenarios that they actually remember. To learn more about PBL, watch my Project Based Learning Basics training and 5 Steps to Success with Project Based Learning webinar. You can also find pre-made PBLs in a variety of grade levels in my teaching resource store, or take the full online course to learn how to plan one customized for your students.

2. Escape Rooms

Last test prep season, I started playing around with classroom escape rooms and breakout boxes. Unfortunately, with 35 students, there were issues either keeping them all engaged (with one clue for the room) or prepping materials (for multiple folders and multiple groups). So I made and tested my own escape rooms that are standard-aligned and easy to prep. Read this blog post to learn how to make escape rooms work in a real classroom. You can also read about the creative ways teachers are using escape rooms in their classrooms and download a free escape room to see how these games work.

3. Reteaching with Teacher Models

In between PBL and escape rooms, I’m reteaching standards using teacher models. This is a great post on how I use Google Slides to share my teacher models in writing to help my students craft a passing essay on the state test.

Have a great week everyone!


April Smith

Curriculum Writer and Online Professional Development Coach. 


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