Test Taking Strategies

Whether we like them or not, tests are inevitable. But they don't have to be scary if you take the time to prepare. Studying is only half the key to success on tests. Here are some tips to help you prepare, during, and after the test. 

Before the Test

  • Preparing start on day one of the semester. Get in the habit of taking good notes, studying, and completing all homework assignments. 
  • Budget your time to allow for sufficient time to study. Cramming is never a good option!
  • Be sure to attend class before the test and go to review sessions. These are prime times for the instructor to give hints on the structure and topics covered. 
  • Put together a "cheat-sheet". A one-page sheet that contains the main ideas/information/formulas so you can review from time to time. 
  • EAT! Be sure to eat before the test
  • Prepare mentally. Do not focus on the past failures, focus on past successes! Picture yourself doing well on the exam and try to stay calm 
  • Gather all necessary supplies the night before. Make sure you have enough pens, pencils, erasers, paper, blue books, calculator, ID card, etc. 

During the Test

  • Keep a positive attitude and stay calm
  • Do an information dump! Once you receive your test, on the back write down all the information you feel you may forget before the test is over. This maybe important names, dates, formulas, etc. 
  • Read the directions carefully! Be aware of words such as "and", "or", "may", and "best". 
  • Do the easier problems first and then the problems with the greatest value of points
  • Pace yourself! 
  • If you do not know the answer, skip it and put a small mark by it. Go through the rest of the test and then come back to it. Other parts of the test may provide you with information to help you answer the question. 
  • Do not worry about other students. Focus on yourself and not at the pace of the rest of the class. 
  • Review your test one last time if there is time left. 
  • Double check that your first and last name are on the test!

After the Test

  • Once you receive your test back, look over the test and make sure you understand your mistakes. If you still don't understand, go talk to the instructor. 
  • If the instructor goes over the test, make notes on what exactly they were looking for in the answer. 
  • Save the test as study material for future tests.