Top 10 Test-Taking Strategies

Tips and strategies to improve your test taking skills

  1. Dump your brain. When you first get your test, write down any information that is difficult to remember such as formulas, dates, keywords, etc. on the back of the test. Then, you can reference it while youíre taking the test without worrying if youíll remember it correctly.
  2. Skim through the entire test. When you first get your test, skim through the entire test and mark the questions you know that you can answer or questions that you donít know right off the bat. Sometimes professors like to put easy questions at the end of the test.
  3. Skip the questions you donít know. Donít waste time on questions youíre unsure of. Mark them with question marks and move on. You can go back to it later.
  4. Double check your work. If you have extra time after youíve finished the exam, take a few minutes to double check your answers, make sure youíve followed all the directions, and havenít skipped any pages.
  5. Look elsewhere on the test for answers. Sometimes the answer to one question may be found on another section of the test worded differently.
  6. Pace yourself. Being able to take a test quickly yet carefully is essential. If necessary, wear a watch or periodically keep your eye on the clock so you are aware of your time left. Also, donít get anxious if you hear other students finishing their tests early.
  7. Ask questions. If youíre confused about the wording or meaning of a question, ask your professor. Donít risk getting a question wrong because you misunderstood it.
  8. Carefully read all of the directions. Most students get a lot of points taken off because they were careless and didnít fully read all of the directions.
  9. Follow your gut instinct. Most of the times when students second guess themselves, they choose the wrong answer.
  10. Relax. It is important to keep your head during a test. There can be a lot of pressure on you to succeed, but remember that stressing out works against you. You risk panicking and/or forgetting information youíve studied.

Also check out our college study tips for tips on studying and preparing for a test.

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