Tips for Test Taking

Studying and doing homework is obviously important for getting good grades on tests. Taking exams is important so that your grades and progress can be determined.

The first criterion for exam success is to stay current with all of your homework, assignments and going to all of your classes.   Getting behind or not understanding the material is usually the biggest reason for test failure and anxiety.

Sometimes students who have kept up with their homework, studied for hours and stayed current in chapters can do poorly on exams. Test taking can be a skill on its own:

» One of the best ways you can prepare for a test is to go to class before the test for the review session.  And do the practice test, if there is one.

» You will probably be scared if you don’t feel that you prepared properly.  Having anxiety about a test does not pay off.  Use that energy to prepare instead.

» When memorizing, use the chunking technique. 4-8-9-0-2-1-5 is easier to remember when you think about it as 489-0215. Also when memorizing, create a personal story or a rhyme around the word or topic — the sillier the better.

» Get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast. It is a fact that our brains need fuel. Sleep and healthy foods will fuel your brains.

» Read the full question carefully. Read all the answers. An answer may feel correct, however, there may be an answer that is more correct. Use the process of elimination for the incorrect answers.

» If an answer includes an extreme modifier such as always, never and every, then it is the incorrect answer.

» When all answers are numbers, the highest and lowest numbers are usually incorrect.

» Look for the word before the blank. For instance, if the word is “an,” the answer will start with a vowel.

» If an answer jumps out at you, it is probably correct, then do not change it. Your initial response is usually correct. When an answer does not feel sure, then take your time, think it through and do not rush. Lack of preparation is the first reason one does not do well on a test, rushing to the answer is the second.  You can also skip the question and come back to it at the end.

» Don’t be scared. It is not only OK;  it is expected to ask the teacher for clarification if a question is confusing to you.

» When you receive the test back after it has been graded, review the incorrect answers and correct them. Save all tests you take for the future.