Test Motivation for Students: 11 Ways to Increase Confidence

Testing is a necessary component of students’ academic journeys. It is designed to assess knowledge, skills, and understanding of a subject. 

However, tests cause many students stress and anxiety which could lead to bad testing experiences and low test scores.

Consequently, this could cause decreased confidence. 

That’s why it’s important for teachers to include classroom routines and strategies that increase standardized testing and state testing motivation for students. 

This post outlines some great tips for boosting test motivation for students. The tips include fun test prep activities along with motivational ideas for test day.

The strategies shared here will help students stay focused, calm, and motivated during test-taking.

Test Motivation for Students

1. Recite Positive Affirmations.

One way to motivate students to do their best on state tests is to have them recite positive affirmations on a daily basis. 

This can be done during morning meetings, right before dismissal, and/or at a specified time during the school day. It could even be assigned for homework.

Reciting positive affirmations nurtures students’ mindsets regarding success.

It cannot be underestimated how what individuals say to themselves affects what they think and feel. 

That’s why having students regularly recite positive affirmations is a really great idea for helping them stay motivated during testing.

2. Prepare Using Test Prep Games.

Another way to skyrocket test motivation for students is to incorporate into your weekly instruction fun test prep review games. 

Games make learning about topics more fun because they are interactive and usually involve strategy, competition plus a prize of some sort. 

Students appreciate the break from a structured routine. 

So to keep students’ stress levels low and their positive thoughts high, include in your classroom activities some exciting test prep games that students enjoy

3. Utilize Positive Reinforcement. 

Positive reinforcement – such as a compliment, praise, a classroom cheer, a thumbs up, written feedback, or a nod of approval – signals to students that what they are doing is good. 

Most likely, they will continue to show that behavior. 

This type of communication is important for students’ academic growth because it encourages them to stay on course. 

4. Give Encouraging Notes. 

Prompt test motivation for students by giving them unexpected encouraging notes. 

These encouraging notes – from parents, teachers, principals, or community leaders – can be handwritten or type-written. 

There is no need to do something elaborate. A quick, cheery message on a sticky note works just as well. 

Before students arrive to school, place a note on or inside their desks.

Here are some cute student motivational notes you can use to keep them encouraged during testing time.

5. Decorate Walls With Motivational Quotes.

Another way to encourage test motivation for students is to decorate the classroom walls with motivational posters and inspirational quotes. 

Purchase the posters, or create them with students as a learning activity. The goal is to create a classroom environment that is positive and encouraging. 

Related Post: Motivational Quotes for Student Testing

6. Distribute Gift Bags. 

If you have the school budget and/or the help of parent volunteers, consider creating cute gift bags for students that include fun items such as pencil toppers, cool erasers, whistles, crazy straws, and anything else you think students might like. 

Also, include an encouraging note along with a sweet treat.

This form of extrinsic motivation will help students get into testing mode and do a great job.

7. Watch Motivational Videos.

An easy way to support test motivation for your students is to have them watch some motivational videos. 

Utilize videos as a pre or post-lesson activity to engage students.

Short motivational videos also serve well as 5-minute fillers between regular classroom activities.

8. Talk Positively.

One of the simplest testing motivators for students is to talk positively about testing.

Standardized testing is often talked about in a negative way, and students have probably heard some of the bad talk. 

While you can’t change what students hear outside of school, you can frame testing as a positive experience when discussing it with them. 

Make a conscious effort to reframe testing into a positive experience. 

Let students know that test-taking allows students to grow academically and provides teachers with information that will help them serve students better. 

9. Complete Growth Mindset Activities.

Partaking in growth mindset activities is a great motivational activity because success starts in the mind.

If students don’t think they can succeed, then they probably won’t. 

So it’s important for teachers to cultivate a mindset of abundance, growth, and success.

The way to do this is to regularly incorporate into instruction growth mindset activities that boost confidence and self-esteem

Though this is best done from the beginning of the school year, doing these activities a few weeks leading up to testing works fine, too. 

With the right mindset, students will know that they have the capability to triumph through any challenging task. 

10. Incentivize With Rewards.

Some students are greatly motivated by tangible prizes so incentivize your class with rewards.

Let students know that if they do their best efforts during testing, they will receive a whole class reward and/or individual rewards.

11. Give Testing Treats.

During testing week, consider distributing to students at the end of each testing day a small testing treat such as a healthy snack (e.g. air-popped popcorn) or a sweet treat (e.g Fruit Roll-Up). 

This serves to lighten the mood and make the testing week more relaxing and calm. Students will remain motivated and positive.

Testing Motivators for Students: Q & A

How do I motivate students for standardized tests and state testing?

To motivate students during state or standardized testing, give positive reinforcement, incentivize with rewards, watch motivational videos, play fun test review games, and recite positive affirmations. 

Final Thoughts On Testing Motivation for Students

Standardized and state testing motivation for students cannot be emphasized enough because test-taking can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience for many. 

However, with the right mindset and motivation, it can also be an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and skills. 

Support students in their efforts by incorporating strategies that boost motivation. 

Testing motivation for students should increase confidence, reduce anxiety, and guide students in putting forth their full potential on test day. 

Utilizing these student test motivational tips, students will be ready to crush any test!