Practice tests, as we’ve stressed time and time again, are essential to test readiness. Of course, high quality practice tests require high quality test proctors. Proctoring might seem like an easy concept, but there are many moving pieces to ensure that each student takes a test under optimal test conditions. Here are a few things to remember when proctoring an ACT or SAT (official test proctors don’t receive much training apart from a manual to follow. They can benefit from these tips as well!):
OR…arrive with time. Make sure there are enough seats and tests for students, as well as turn on the heat or AC in the room if needed. Fifteen minutes early usually suffices. Bonus: Bring extra pencils, calculators, and tissues for the room.
Leave the room while the students are arriving.
OR… make sure you are in the testing room to greet arrivals. As students arrive, direct them to their seats quickly so that they can prepare themselves for the test. Collect whatever information you need from students before the test begins.
Give a long, boring introduction.
OR… hand out the tests and say your piece efficiently, so testing can commence. Make sure you leave time for questions and to address any complaints the students may have about their desk, chairs, or writing utensils. Be clear about the time allotted for each section, 5-minute warnings, and when breaks are allowed.
Leave the room during an entire section.
OR… stick around and make sure the test is proceeding smoothly and fairly. Feel free to use the restroom or grab a cup of coffee, but you should be available to the students and address questions as quickly as possible.
OR… respect test takers! Working on a computer, reading a book, or quietly texting is acceptable, but be sure your volume is off on all devices. Any sort of distraction will detract from a student’s test experience.
Lose track of time.
OR… do the job of a proctor and time each section accurately. All tests, whether practice or official, should be taken under real test conditions, and students need to become comfortable with their time restraints. Keep careful track of the time, and be consistent with your warnings.
Let students just sit and text during their breaks.
OR… tell them how to get the most out of their breaks. Encourage students to move around, have a snack, and drink some water during their breaks. A quick walk coupled with nourishing food does wonders for the body and the mind.