Test Taking Strategies

Before Taking A Test

  1. Be prepared. Read and study assignments, take good notes in class, test yourself on the key terms and definitions, review the items that the instructor flagged as important.

  2. Get plenty of sleep the night before. The mental alertness that comes from a good night's sleep could add two, four, or even six points to your score and could mean the difference between passing or failing the test. Why take a chance by staying up late and gambling at such high stakes?

  3. Arrive five or ten minutes early and get settled. Do your nerves a favor and arrive early. Find a seat, get settled with a pen or pencil and paper, and relax.

  4. Know what to expect on the test. Check beforehand to see if the test will be essay, true/false, matching, or multiple choice so that you can anticipate the format and study accordingly.

  5. Have confidence in your abilities. The best way to achieve self-confidence is to be well prepared.

During The Test

  1. Read and follow directions. Find out what you are supposed to do. For example, on a multiple-choice test, is more than one answer needed?

  2. Answer easy questions first. This instills confidence as your realize that you do, in fact, know a lot of the material.

  3. Don't spend too much time on a question you don't remember the answer to. Make a little black mark in the margin beside it and leave it, but remember to come back to it later.

  4. Concentrate. Tune out both internal and external distractions and focus your attention on the material on the test.

  5. Schedule your time. When you receive your copy of the test, look it over, size up the task, and organize your time accordingly.

  6. Answer all questions. Don't leave any question blank.

  7. Ask the instructor for clarification. Your instructor may be able to rephrase the question or give you some other type of helpful hints.

  8. Check exam. Make sure you have answered all items and have given the correct number of responses for essay questions. Read your answers to check that they are complete. If you have time, review the objective items to be sure that you have answered them correctly.

  9. Don't be intimidated by students who finish early. Research shows that there is no correlation between high scores and the time students take to finish a test. Fast students do not necessarily work more accurately.