The 2 Minute Test. Even smart kids need to be reminded to read.

The 2 Minute Test is an exercise in following written instructions. There are many similar exercises; this is my version.

Goal: Students in middle school language arts classes have taken hundreds of tests. Most skip the written directions thinking that they already know what to do. Every year, a handful of them fail to pass the written portion of state tests because they have not read the instructions. This will make them aware of the need to read.

The test will also help them understand that reading goes far beyond merely pronouncing words in a sentence. Reading is comprehending what those words mean in context.

No one is exempt from passing or failing this test. Special education students have passed it while GATE (gifted/talented) students have failed it. So, here it is.

Administer the test in the first week of school. Pass out the test face down to each student with the instructions, “Do not turn this over until I tell you to do so.” Set a timer to two minutes and tell the students, “You may start.” Sit back and enjoy the ride.

The 2 Minute Test

1. Read every word on this page before you do anything.

2. Write your name in the upper-right space at the top of the page.

3. Draw a circle about the size of a penny in each corner of the page.

4. Draw a plus sign (+) to the right of sentence number 7.

5. Circle the “5” that is in the front of this sentence.

6. Color in the 4 “o’s” that you see in this sentence.

7. Circle this entire sentence.

8. If you are right-handed, write your name with your left hand in the space below this sentence. If you are left-handed, use your right hand.


9. Draw an “X” over your name at the top of the page.

10. In the left margin, draw your best drawing of a unicorn head.

11. In the right margin, draw a square with “X” in the middle of it.

12. Now that you have read all the words on this page as you were instructed in Number 1, go back to the top of the page and only do Number 1 and Number 2, turn this paper face-down, set your pencil or pen on top of the paper, and wait for the rest of the two minutes to expire. Try to not laugh as others complete the test.

©2019 Doug Hanks. All rights reserved.

Ticonderogas by Dave Pennington.