6 Tips to Boost Testing Motivation for Students


State testing is upon us, and teachers are feeling the pressure! One of the biggest struggles is keeping students motivated during state testing and review. We know keeping students motivated and working hard is incredibly important, but you may be wondering how. Let’s chat about testing motivation for students and how to boost confidence throughout this busy season.


How to Motivate Students During Testing Season

Increasing testing motivation for students can be done by incorporating simple and creative practices into your classroom. Below are a few of my favorite motivational activities. You can spread this over the course of a few weeks or just the week leading up to testing.


#1 Testing Motivational Posters

We know that anchor charts are a great way to remind students of things they’re learning throughout the school year. And you can apply that same principle to testing motivation for students. 

Hang motivational posters around your room to keep the space feeling warm and inviting, even when you’re forced to take down anchor charts before the state exam. Students can also refer to these positive posters when they need a motivation boost. 

Start your morning by having students repeat affirmations from some of the posters. Allow students to color them as a group brain break. My Testing Motivation Resource has six different posters included to increase testing motivation for students, with sayings like “You know what rhymes with test? Try your very best!”


#2 Test Taking Tips Bookmarks

Give students bookmarks with tips that they can quickly reference as needed. These bookmarks can help students feel confident when test taking because let’s face it – how students take a standardized test is probably a little different than a typical exam.

You can include tips like re-reading when necessary or crossing out answers that they know are wrong. If you want print-and-go bookmarks for test season, grab them in the Testing Motivation Resource. You’ll get access to pre-made testing tips bookmarks, which are also editable if you want to add something specific for your students.


#3 Door Hangers

The night before the test can be stressful for many students. Send students home with a positive affirmation to help them feel motivated and calm their nerves. I like to make door hangers with a little note for each student to encourage them. 

Words of affirmation can go a long way with student confidence, and this is a super simple way to boost testing motivation in students. If you’re strapped for time, you can grab already-made door hangers in my Testing Motivation Resource. Sign your name to the bottom or add a quick note to show students you believe in them! 


#4 Free Time Coupons

Show students that you recognize their hard work and keep them motivated with free time coupons. You can easily print coupons from a digital template or use construction paper and markers.

You can also snag free time coupons from my Testing Motivation Resource. If you do decide to use these coupons, make sure that every student gets a chance to earn one. Otherwise, this could have the opposite effect and bum students out before the big test. 


#5 Worry Confetti

This is one of my absolute favorite things to do before state testing. Our students can have a lot of big feelings when it comes to the state exam. A few days before the test, have students write down their worries. Invite them to share those worries with the class, a partner, or directly with (if they want to), and then rip them up!

Then, put all the colorful pieces of paper into a container and talk about how they turned their worries into confetti. Use this as an opportunity to answer any questions students have leading up to the test. 

After the exam, each kid gets to reach into the container, grab a handful of worry confetti, and throw it into the air! This is a fun way to celebrate the end of testing, and the act of ripping up their worries can be a really powerful way to ease anxiety.


#6 Post-Testing Celebration

While it’s super important to prepare for testing, it’s just as important to celebrate when it’s over. After all, that’s the best part! Knowing a celebration is coming can boost testing motivation for students. I like to celebrate with a mystery testing box. 

Put this box out a few weeks or days before testing with a “do not open” sign, which will add to the suspense. Fill the box with items you’ll use for a class celebration. After testing, open the box and reveal what’s inside!

You can fill your mystery box with glow sticks for a fun glow party, or it could have clues about a movie you’ll watch to celebrate. Make the mystery box work for your class! f you need ideas, you can check out this blog post where I talk more about the mystery box, or grab my Testing Motivation Resource for a list of ideas for your mystery testing box.

Get the Complete Testing Motivation Bundle

If you want to save yourself a ton of time, grab the Testing Motivation Resource! Inside, you’ll find all the activities from this blog post, including notes of encouragement, testing snack tags, motivational signs, and more. 


The tools in this resource can make a huge impact on student motivation for testing and turn testing season into less of a drag! We want our students to stay excited, feel positive, and have something to look forward to, and the items in this resource can make that possible.

Download the freebie at the top of the page to use as motivation during practice tests or the real deal! Because who doesn’t love a little ice cream incentive?!

As you head into this testing season, I want you to remember that you’ve prepared your students well for this test! You’ve taught the standards in fun and engaging ways, you’ve poured yourself out for your kiddos, and now it’s their time to shine. I am cheering you on!

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