The Test-Taking Strategy

Test-Taking Strategy Guidebook Cover

The Test-Taking Strategy is designed to be used while taking classroom tests. Students allocate time and priority to each section of the test, carefully read and focus on important elements in the test instructions, recall information using mnemonic devices, systematically and quickly progress through a test, make well-informed guesses, check their work, and take control of the testing situation. The emphasis is on teaching adolescents and adults who struggle with learning.

In studies, students who learned the Test-Taking Strategy achieved an average 10-point increase on tests. Before learning the strategy, students correctly answered an average of 65 percent of test questions. After they mastered the strategy, they answered an average of 75 percent of the questions correctly.

This product is available through Edge Enterprises, Inc.

Please note that professional development, coaching, and infrastructure support are essential components to effective implementation of SIM instructional tools and interventions. It is highly recommended that you work with a SIM professional developer. See the SIM Event list for sessions or email to learn more.

Author(s): Charles A. Hughes, Jean B. Schumaker, Donald D. Deshler, and Cecil D. Mercer

Publication Info: Edge Enterprises, 1993



  • Lancaster, P.E., Schumaker, J.B., Lancaster, S.J.C., & Deshler, D.D. (2009). Effects of a computerized program on use of the test-taking strategy by secondary students with disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32, 165-179. This study indicated that the Test-Taking Strategy CD is an effective tool for teaching the strategy to secondary students with learning disabilities.
  • *Holzer, M. L., Madaus, J. W., Bray, M. A., & Kehle, T. J. (2009). The Test‐Taking Strategy Intervention for College Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 24(1), 44-56.
  • *Songlee, D., Miller, S. P., Tincani, M., Sileo, N. M., & Perkins, P. G. (2008). Effects of test-taking strategy instruction on high-functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 23(4), 217-228.
  • *Kretlow, A. G., Lo, Y. Y., White, R. B., & Jordan, L. (2008). Teaching test-taking strategies to improve the academic achievement of students with mild mental disabilities. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 43(3), 397.
  • Lancaster, P.E., Lancaster, S.J.C., Schumaker, J.B., & Deshler, D.D. (2006). The efficacy of an interactive hypermedia program for teaching a test-taking strategy to students with high-incidence disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(2), 17-30. Researchers studying the effectiveness of an interactive hypermedia CD for teaching the Test-Taking Strategy found students earned an average of 42 percent of strategy-use points before instruction and 93 percent after instruction; the study also included think-aloud and student knowledge measures.
  • Hughes, C.A., Deshler, D.D., Ruhl, K.L., & Schumaker, J.B. (1993). Test-taking strategy instruction for adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 1(3), 189-198. This study evaluated the Test-Taking Strategy on several measures, including application in regular class tests.
  • Hughes, C.A., & Schumaker, J.B. (1991). Reflections on "test-taking strategy instruction for adolescents with learning disabilities." Exceptionality, 2, 237-242. Researchers discuss the Test-Taking Strategy within the context of 14 studies with more than 100 replications of students with LD learning to use strategies.
  • Hughes, C.A., & Schumaker, J.B. (1991). Test-taking strategy instruction for adolescents with learning disabilities. Exceptionality, 2, 205-221.

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