5+ Fun and Effective Test Prep Activities for Elementary Students

It’s no secret that elementary school students can find tests overwhelming and stressful.  We, as teachers, can feel the stress as well!  For many, standardized tests are the first experience with high-pressure academic situations.  So, it’s our responsibility to help our students prepare and reduce their anxiety.  Students who are well-prepared for tests and assessments are more likely to feel confident and perform better.  Test prep also enhances critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, which are essential for academic success.

However, test prep doesn’t have to be a tedious and monotonous process.  Incorporating fun and engaging activities can make test prep enjoyable for elementary students.  These activities help reinforce important concepts and create a positive learning environment that encourages active participation and enthusiasm.

Fun Test prep activities

Read Alouds

I incorporate picture books I read aloud to my students leading up to testing. These read-alouds cultivate a serene and stress-free environment and can alleviate any test-related anxiety they experience. My recommended favorites are books such as “Testing Miss Malarkey,” “The Anti-Test Anxiety Society,” and “The Big Test.”

The Anti-Test Anxiety Society, The Big Test, Testing with Miss Malarkey picture books

Brag Tags for Test Prep Motivation

Instead of giving your students candy for motivation, give your students these brag tags before, during, and after each session of the tests that they are taking. Not only will they prevent you from purchasing candy and other gadgets, but they also do away with rewarding them with candy and other junk food. You can grab these testing brag tags in the free resource library.

Cut Practice Tests to Pieces

Before beginning test prep practice, find a released test from a prior year. Giving students a packet is boring and overwhelming. Consider cutting the questions apart so that they can focus on one question at a time and put students in teams. Before you begin the ELA test prep, divide students into teams from which they would benefit the most. Next, make copies of the reading passages. Make one copy of the text for each student to read. Then, make enough copies of the corresponding questions for each team. Next, cut the questions so that you have questions slips.

Test prep Questions practice

When it is time for practice, give all students the reading passage to read independently. Once everyone has read the passage, have students meet with their teams. Before passing out a test question, determine what you want your student to focus on. One area of focus might be to have them dissect a question so that they will know precisely what is being asked and to practice different test-taking strategies. For example, if a question asks about point of view, briefly review point of view with students, and then use the process of elimination to narrow the answers down to two. Students determine the answer as a team and then come together as a class to share the results. You won’t believe how engaged your student will be and excited to practice!

Preparing Students for Technology Enhanced Items

With the rise of technology, standardized testing is not the same today as it used to be. The biggest hurdle is familiarizing students with the tools that they need to be able to use within the test itself.  Familiarize your students with the technology-enhanced items with this free flipbook.  You can find it here.

Test Prep Vocabulary

Did you know that researchers estimate 85% of achievement test scores are based on the vocabulary of the standards?  That is why reviewing important vocabulary is essential to prepare students. For example, your students may know that when they see a Venn Diagram, they place similarities in the center and differences on the outside. However, do they make the connection that they should use a Venn Diagram to complete the task if they are asked to compare and contrast?

In the free resource library, you will find a Test Prep Vocabulary Pack that contains 24 words that will benefit your students when reviewing essential vocabulary.

Consider the Interactive Notebook for Test Prep Vocabulary to further your students’ vocabulary knowledge. Students will interact and become experts with 42 of the most critical verbs found in State Standards. These words are not specific to any subject area, making them versatile. The words are not grade-specific because they are appropriate for various grade levels.


Test prep doesn’t have to be dull and unexciting. By incorporating fun and effective activities into your test prep routine, you can engage elementary students in a way that promotes active learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. From reading comprehension and math skills to vocabulary building and critical thinking, these activities cater to different subjects and learning styles.

Baseball Test Prep and Room Transformation

Are you a 3rd, 4th, or 5th-grade teacher teaching math?  The baseball themed test prep activities are perfect for you!

Students will be highly engaged and won’t even realize that they are participating in test prep! Within the resource, I provide a step-by-step approach that I follow, but you may find a way that suits you better!

Every math standard is addressed. Students answer multiple-choice and short answer math questions to earn tickets for teamwork, perseverance, efficiency, showing work, and using test-taking strategies. Then tickets can be used during game day!


3rd grade test prep and classroom transformation

3rd Grade Math Test Prep Activities & Transformation Kit

4th grade test prep and classroom transformation

4th Grade Math Test Prep Activities & Transformation Kit

5th grade test prep and classroom transformation

5th Grade Math Test Prep Activities & Transformation Kit

Mandy Neal at Teaching With Simplicity
Mandy Neal at Teaching With Simplicity

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