Step 1: Prepare for Test Day

The goal of pre-testing is to collect accurate data. In order to gather accurate data you need to (1) simulate the testing experience as closely as possible and (2) communicate your data needs to Cambridge for timely data processing.

Simulate the Testing Experience

First, you need to simulate the testing experience as closely as possible. Schedule the pre-test, gather your materials, and prepare your students.

It is absolutely necessary that students take the test under actual testing conditions. An important aspect of these conditions is to administer the test in one, unbroken session. If your test prep sessions are normally scheduled for less than the required time it takes to administer the exam, arrange to hold a special long session.

Allow approximately four hours for testing, including administration and breaks.

If students are working remotely, consider whether you would like them to take the test on their own or if they will all take the test at the same time. You can open the testing window and tell them when it will close (i.e., you have until next Friday to take the test) or you can have all the students log on at the same time and proctor the test while they work remotely. If your students complete the test on their own, have them set aside four hours to test so that they can complete the test in one sitting as explained above.

Be sure that you are familiar with the Proctor Checklist and Proctor Instructions (available in Step 2) and that you have collected and reviewed all the testing materials listed in the Proctor Checklist.

The proctor information is available for each proctoring situation (paper or online materials, in person or remote proctoring) so be sure to use the instructions that apply to your pre-testing implementation.

If you are using printed test booklets or an official guide, look at the ScantronTM Information Form (included with your materials) to determine which of the tests students should take as a pre-test. It is absolutely necessary that students take the correct test as a pre-test because some teacher’s guide lessons draw from particular form codes to reinforce concepts. Do NOT administer the same test as both a pre- and post-test.

If you are self-scoring your tests, either have your students write their answers on a separate sheet of paper or contact a Cambridge rep to order blank Scantron forms. You will also need lined paper to distribute when students respond to the essay prompt.

Cambridge uses retired tests from the testing companies that produce the test. Using these retired tests gives you data so you can have confidence in measuring your students’ skills and provides a reliable pre- and post-test analysis.

If you would prefer to have your students take a computer-based test, Cambridge offers a Score Booster with Cambridge-written tests you can use either for pre-testing or as additional practice. We make sure our tests are designed to accurately reflect the difficulty and range of topics that students see on the real test. Our test writers are experts in the field, and they closely assess each item’s design to make sure that they are as accurate as possible. If you use these Score Booster tests you will not receive our assessment reports, but you will be able to log into the Score Booster platform at to view your students’ test attempts.


Notify students ahead of time to bring several No. 2 pencils (online students can use any writing utensil), an acceptable calculator, and a watch to pace themselves while testing (optional). An acceptable calculator is defined as a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator.

Communicate Your Data Needs

Before you pre-test, go to to verify your testing details and finalize your reports (including requesting custom lesson plans). You will log in using your location code and location email address. If you do not know your location code or the email address associated with your account, call (847) 299-2930. PrepMyData helps you confirm that you are ready for testing and that you will receive timely reports.


Cambridge offers a pre-slugging service (we fill in your students’ names, IDs, etc.). We recommend this service because:

  • The sheets will be returned to the school with the student information already filled in, which saves time on the testing day and reduces the chance of errors.

  • If the school is using a pre- and post-test evaluation of student learning, pre-printing Scantron answer sheets is the best way to ensure that students are correctly matched. 

  • You can download and then submit a pre-slugging file in the PrepMyData form. You MUST complete the PrepMyData form at least three weeks before testing in order to receive pre-slugged Scantrons.