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Test Taking Strategies

 Test Taking Strategies

To do well on any test, you must first make sure that you know the material and are prepared. It is also helpful to be a "smart test taker". We have included some tips to help you become a "smart test taker". Using these simple strategies can help you feel more confident, be a better test taker, and hopefully get better grades!

Test Preparation Tips

  • Know what the test is going to cover so that you know what you need to study.
  • For essay tests, it is important to understand the "big picture" as well as know main ideas and key facts.
  • For multiple choice and true and false tests, it is important to know specifics and details.
  • Make sure that you read all of your material ahead of time.
  • Don't cram!! It is important to know and understand the information, not just memorize it.
  • Pay very close attention in class the day before the test. Many times the teachers will review test material the day before.
  • Make sure that you know the answers to any of the review questions that are included in your textbook.
  • Know the meanings of italic or bold words in you textbook.
  • If your teacher gives you a study guide, know EVERYTHING on it.
  • Write important facts and information on index cards and use them to refresh your memory right before the test.
  • Study your class notes
  • Study with a partner. Many times you can just as much by helping someone else learn, so studying with a partner will help you both.

Test Taking Tips

Prepare Yourself For A Good Start
  • Get a good night's sleep
  • Eat a healthy breakfast (not too much sugar)
  • Make sure that you have all of the materials needed to take the test
  • As soon as your test is handed to you (and you have permission to write on it), write down any of the important information that you want to remember (names, dates, formulas, etc.)
  • Be certain that you put your name on your test and the you follow the directions

Create A Plan
  • Scan over your test before you begin to answer any questions
  • Decide how much time you believe that you will need to spend on each section or question
  • Make sure that you leave yourself enough time to answer essay questions thoroughly
  • Make certain that you read all directions carefully

Don't Get Stuck
  • If you are finding a question or problem too difficult, place a mark near it so that you know that you need to go back to it, and move on to the next question.
  • Go back after answering all questions and make certain that you have not missed any (or forgotten to complete one that you may have skipped over intentionally)

Check You Answers
  • If you have time, make certain that you check over your answers. You may have made a careless mistake.
  • Use all of the time that is provided.

Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Attempt to answer the question in your head before looking at the answers provided. If your answer is an option, then you are most likely correct.
  • Be certain that you read ALL answer choices.
  • If you are not completely certain which answer is correct, at least cross of the answers that you know are not correct and then make an educated guess.

True/False Questions
  • Words like all, always, never, every, and none generally indicate a false statement.
  • Be very careful when reading true/false questions. Many times one word can determine whether or not the statement is true or false.

Essay Questions
  • Read each question, and start with the one that you feel most confident in answering.
  • Before you actually start writing your answer, jot down key words, ideas, and facts that you want to include.
  • Use complete sentences.

How To Reduce Test Anxiety

Believe it or not, a little anxiousness before a test actually improves your attention and focus. However, there are several things that you can do to reduce test anxiety if you are experiencing excess anxiety. They include:
  • Start studying early. Do not cram!
  • Be certain that you have studied enough to feel confident about knowing the material.
  • After you have completed your studying, remind yourself with positive thoughts that you are prepared and know the information.
  • Mentally practice taking the test. Envision yourself answering the questions correctly and getting the grade that you want.
  • Take deep breathes. Breath in through your nose, making sure that you completely fill your lungs, and breath out through your mouth.
  • When you breath out, concentrate on relaxing your muscles. Let the tension release from your body.
  • Starting at the top of your head, flex and then relax the muscles in  your body (this is called progressive muscle relaxation)
  • Close your eyes briefly and picture a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Practice these techniques. You will become better at them with time.
  • If you have tried these techniques for a while, and they don't seem to be helping, talk to a counselor.