Integrating test familiarisation into your teaching

As pupils prepare for assessments, it is important to build familiarity with written tests, especially in the primary stage. One way to help pupils become more comfortable with the format of test questions is by integrating test familiarisation into your teaching. Here, we outline some key methods you can use to familiarise pupils with assessments.


Familiarise pupils with the assessment format
Here are some ideas for integrating test familiarisation into your teaching:

  • Ask all pupils to think about a potential test question and write an answer, then discuss it as a class.
  • Produce several potential answers to a question and ask pupils (individually or in pairs/groups) to judge which is the best answer and explain why.
  • Ask each pupil to write their own answer and then discuss in a small group, with each group attempting to reach a consensus about the best answer. This may mean integrating elements of different answers into the ‘best’ answer, and can result in further learning and reinforcement along the way.

Strategies like these enable pupils to become familiar with the format of test questions but in a focused, unpressured environment. It can allow them to reinforce their knowledge and increase their engagement with a topic.


Test strategies
Once pupils are familiar with the format of test questions, integrate test strategies into class activities too. The following top tips to share with test takers can help pupils navigate assessments:

  • Do not spend too long on one question; if it is too difficult leave it and try again later
  • If you finish the test early, check your answers and go back and try any unanswered questions
  • If a question is hard to understand, read it again and underline key words that tell you what to do.


For more on formative assessment methods, see additional guides in Assessment for learning and Self and peer assessment

Our standardised assessment range includes mathematics and reading assessments for use across years 1-6 and grammar and punctuation and spelling materials for use across years 3-6. The view the quality typical of NFER Tests, download our sample materials brochure.