Test Taking Tips

Here are some tips that will help you improve your performance during a testing situations.

Get A Good Night’s Rest The Night Before

Both your brain and body need enough rest to re-energize and consolidate the content/information you studied for your upcoming test. Having a good night’s rest before your exam will not only help you stay focused during the test, but will also enhance your recall memory.

Before The Test Beings

Make sure you have everything you’ll need to complete the test (pencil, eraser, calculator, ruler etc.), this will prevent any unnecessary stress/worry.

Relax/Positive Attitude

Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test and try to stay relaxed. If you have prepared for the test, then you have nothing to worry about, just focus on your test and believe in your abilities. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are so nervous that your mind goes blank, then you need to give yourself a mini-break. Close the test, take a couple of deep breaths, calm down and start over. During testing situations, when you blank out on something, getting nervous will only make it more difficult to recall the information you want, thats why its very important that you calm yourself down and move on.

Listen Closely To Any Last Minute Instructions

Teachers often make last minute changes/corrections to the test. So pay close attention when the test is handed out. You don’t want to miss any instructions/corrections as this will only make your testing experience more stressful.

Manage Your Time

Scan through the test quickly before starting and make sure your not missing any test pages. Scanning the test will give you an overview of all the components/sections of the test. You should then estimate how much time you have for each section (your game plan) and do your best to stick to your schedule. Knowing how to efficiently budget your time is an essential test taking skill.

Complete Easy Questions First

By answering the easy questions first (or the questions you know) you will not only save time, but you’ll also gain confidence and momentum to help you get through the rest of the test. So it’s strongly advised to skip questions that your stuck on and comeback to them later after you’ve gone through the entire test, so that you don’t waste too much time on one question.

Difficult Questions

Go back to the difficult questions. While looking over the test and completing the easy questions, your subconscious mind will be working through the harder questions. So it’s not uncommon to figure out the answer at the very last minute. Also, its possible that later questions/components on the test might give you useful or needed information to answer the earlier questions. When faced with a difficult question, make sure you understand what the question is actually asking and keep in mind that you might have to apply multiple concepts to come to the final solution. If in the end you can’t come up with an answer, then make an educated guess so you can at least get partial marks.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

Use the process of elimination to help you identify the correct answer. Start by crossing out the answers you know for sure are wrong, then focus on the remaining options to determine the best possible answer. Additionally, when it comes to MCQs remember to select the statement that answers the question, not a statement that’s just simply correct.

Rely on your first impressions

I strongly advise that you stick with the answer you chose first. Because the answer that comes to mind first is often the correct one. Nervously reviewing questions and changing answers (in my opinion) does more harm than good. So don’t waste time debating between answers, go with your instinct and stick to it.

Short Answers

Make sure you answer all the components of the question to get full marks. When answering short answer questions, try to answer the questions from the teachers point of view. Try to remember what the instructor emphasized in class as those topics (the ones your teacher spent more time explaining) are the ones that are more likely to be tested through short answer questions. Additionally, make sure that your answers are clear (legible) and concise to ensure you get the marks you deserve.

Ask For Clarification

If you come across a question that doesn’t make sense or isn’t clear, don’t panic, ask your teacher for clarification. Don’t simply ask them for the answer, but rather rephrase your question in a way that shows your teacher that you have the information but are not sure what the question is asking for.

Review If There Is Extra Time

If you happen to finish for test early, go back and review it. Make sure that you didn’t make any careless mistakes, such as putting the right answer in the wrong place or forgetting to answer a question, make sure that you have answered all the questions. After doing this, proofread your short answers/essay and add additional details if necessary. Lastly, review your steps for the more difficult questions to see if they make sense and to catch any careless mistakes.

Focus On Your OWN Test

Don’t worry if others finish before you, don’t let it add to your stress or deter your focus. Just focus on the test in front of you and use all the time your allotted to complete it.