4 Ways to Review for Math Tests Your Students Will Love

Picture of math school supplies with text that reads, "4 ways to review before a math test"

It’s a few days before the first math test of the year. Students (and their parents)  are asking, “How do I study for a math test?” and “What is the best way to review for math tests?” As upper elementary school teachers, it is our job to help students grow their study skills, support their learning, and help them be successful. 

Before math tests, I like to provide my students with opportunities to review. This helps them practice all the skills from the chapter, gives them familiarity with the type of test questions, and helps build their confidence. 

Here are a few of my favorite ways to review a math test. 

Many math publishers provide multiple formats of chapter tests. If you give the publisher’s test, this provides a great opportunity to give a practice test to students. Take a look at the different versions to find out if they are parallel tests or vary in difficulty. I usually give my students a test with the same format and different numbers for homework the night before a test. 

Picture of math test with text that reads, "practice tests help students get comfortable with the format" as a way to review for math tests

Before the test, we go over the practice homework. While some of this does include looking at the correct answer, I also use it as a discussion point. Before we check the answers, students must determine which problems were the easiest and which were the most difficult (and why). We discuss this as the class before giving the specific answers but rather talk in general about how to solve types of problems and different strategies. After the discussion, students check their work with the correct answers. If needed, students can ask clarifying questions before taking the test. 

I like creating task cards that mirror the chapter tests and hanging them around the classroom. Students walk around the classroom to solve the different problems as their “walking review.” 

As they work, I walk around with an answer key and check their work as they go. When I check the first student, they might only have one or two questions completed so I will add a star if it is correct or a circle if they need to go back to change their answer. 

Naturally, students will work together on these tasks and discuss their work. They are up and moving around the classroom. I can also easily see who is confused based on checking their work and based on the general speed they complete the activity.

Picture of review task card hanging around the classroom with text that reads, "task cards for review help incorporate movement"

So, how do I create these walking review questions? I have the chapter test in front of me and I rewrite the questions changing out names and swapping out numbers to create similar test questions. Not only do I use similar questions, I usually follow the same order, tool. This helps students know what test questions will look like. If you want to try this, use my basic template here. No matter how many questions are on my test, I will only include 12 task card questions for walking review. 

Picture of task card review template for a  way to review for math tests with a button that reads free download

My students love playing online review games like Kahoot or Gimkit. While there have been times that I created my digital review games, I have also found that so many free games already exist. I will search for activities that match the content from the test. Sometimes, I can even find review games based on the specific publisher and chapter test I plan on giving.

Picture of students on computers with text that reads, "search for free computer games to review"

Before playing the review game, I always review the questions and answers. Sometimes I like to make small edits or even consider changing the time given to answer each question. 

I like this option because it saves me time and students love playing on their computers. I can also share these activities as homework and depending on your subscription, you can also get a detailed report on how students performed.  

My students also love interactive scavenger hunts in which they are given a mathematical “name” to use during the activity. Just like in the “find someone who…” icebreaker activity, students look for other students who meet the given criteria that match the math chapter we are working on. Not only do these activities work great for review for math tests, but they also increase student engagement.

For example, if we are going to test geometry ideas, students are given a geometric figure name. They wear their geometric figure name tag while searching for individual criteria like “find a geometric figure that has 4 right angles.” They will look for a classmate who has a square, rectangle, or other polygon with 4 angles as their name tag. Once found, they put it on their recording sheet and answer an additional question using that polygon. 

Picture of a straight angle name tag with a scavenger hunt recording page with text that says, "make review feel like a game"

This type of activity incorporates movement and pulls on students’ knowledge of the topic. They are asked a variety of types of questions and apply what they know to answer questions. I also like that there isn’t just one correct answer. Different student “names” can match the same criteria. Naturally, students start working together and support each other’s understanding. 

You can make this activity yourself by creating a criteria board with different questions. Students can use actual nametags with a math concept like a number in the thousands place, a decimal to the tenths, or a type of angle based on what you are reviewing. You can also grab my already-made scavenger hunt activities for third grade. I also have this free one for multiplication and division you can try out with your students today! 

Picture of multiplication and division basic fact tags that are part of interactive scavenger hunt available for free  that can be used as review for math tests

I hope that some of these ideas can help you and your students review for their math tests. I would love to hear what works well for your students! 

So what happens when you provide your students with opportunities for review but they still do poorly on their math test? Check out how I use error analysis with students who fail (or perform poorly) on their tests. 

Signature that says, "Love, Julie from Llama with Class"

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