Guidelines for PSSA Preparation

    • Make sure that students understand vocabulary words.
    • Give them a practice test so they are familiar with the format.
    • Emphasize the importance of understanding the directions.
    • Read all answers to each question and go back to check answers.
    • Remind students to choose the best answer.
    • Model how you would take a test, explaining your thinking.
    • Express the importance of doing their best work.
    • Help them eliminate sections in the story that are not necessary.

Question-Answer Relationships

  • There are four common types of questions:

    • Level I - In-the-Book Questions- right there
    • Level II - In-the-Book Questions- Think, Search, and Find
    • Level III In-My-Head Questions- Author and Me
    • Level IV In-My-Head Questions- On My Own

    75% of all PSSA questions are from level III or IV.

    It is important to expose students to all levels of questioning but you need to stress the last two levels.

Tips from Buckle Down: Pennsylvania PSSA

  • Reading

    Tip #1: Do a first read of the passage.
    Tip #2: Learn how to answer different kinds of questions.
    Tip #3: Read every question carefully.
    Tip #4: Go back and scan the passage for the correct answer.
    Tip #5: Choose the best answer to the question.
    Tip #6: Base your answers mainly on what is in the passage.
    Tip #7: Dont let difficult questions upset you.
    Tip #8: Dont leave any blanks.
    Tip #9: When its time to take a test, relax.


    Tip #1: Have a clear understanding of the writing prompt (writing assignment) before you start writing.
    Tip #2: Make a writing plan.
    Tip # 3: Stay focused on one topic.
    Tip # 4: Thoroughly cover the assignment.
    Tip # 5: Take your time, but use it wisely.
    Tip # 6: Write neatly.
    Tip # 7: One test day, relax.  You have the skills to succeed.


    Tip #1: On test day, stay relaxed and confident.
    Tip #2: Find the technique that works best for you.
    Tip #3: Know when to guess.
    Tip #4: Answer open-ended questions completely.
    Tip #5: Keep a positive attitude toward math.

Tips for Parents

  • You can assist your child prepare for the PSSA by doing the following:

    • Maintain a pleasant home environment and avoid unnecessary conflicts. Try to make the morning(s) of the test pleasant ones. Do not add to your childs stress.
    • Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep before each day of testing, and make sure your child eats properly each day of the test.
    • Send your child to school each day of the test with a water bottle.  It has been proven that water aids brain activity.
    • Make sure your child has taken any needed medication.
    • Ensure that your child is present during testing (children generally perform better when taking tests in their groups rather than at a make-up time).
    • Get your child to school on time each day of the test.
    • Wish your child good luck each morning of the test. Tell your child that he/she is special and that you believe in him/her!
    • Remind your child that the test is important. Encourage him/her to do his/her best.
    • If your child is too ill to attend, please call the school office.
    • Explain to your child the importance of using time wisely. If your child gets stuck on a question, encourage him or her to make the best guess and move on.
    • Remind your child to listen carefully to the instructions from the teacher and to read the directions and each question carefully.
    • Tell your child to attempt to answer all of the questions and not to leave any blank.
    • Encourage your child to stay focused on the test, even if other students finish early.
    • If your child is disappointed after taking the test, reassure him or her that there will be plenty of opportunities to improve and succeed.