Test Taking Stratagies
Preparing ahead of time: Most adult students don’t like taking tests, so if you feel that way, you’re in good company. And, let’s face it, we are not as young as we used to be, so cramming the night before isn’t likely to lead to success. When you take a test, you are demonstrating your ability to understand course material or perform certain tasks. Successful test taking avoids carelessness.
Here are some tips for getting ready.
- Study regularly and always study as if you were getting ready for a test.
- During the term, talk with classmates about test questions which you and they think might appear on the test.
- Review your notes and the reading to look for likely test items. If the professor has emphasized terms, ideas, concepts, dates, events, people, and so on, or has emphasized parts of the reading, these are likely to appear on a test.
- Prior to assigned tests, ask questions about what to expect. Get as much information as you can about the test and the material it will cover.
Taking the test:
Objective tests are true-false, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank.
Subjective texts are short answer, essay, or oral exams
- Analyze how you did on a similar test in the past. Review your previous tests and sample tests provided by your teacher. Each test you take prepares you for the next one!
- Arrive early for tests. List what you need beforehand to avoid panic. Good preparation prepares you for the task at hand.
- Be comfortable but alert. Choose a comfortable location with space enough that you need Don't slouch; maintain good posture.
- Stay relaxed and confident. Keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are going to do your best. If you find yourself panicking, take a few deep breaths. Don't talk to other students right before: stress can be contagious.
- Read directions carefully! and avoid careless errors.
- If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview. Scan for keywords. If permitted, jot any notes that come to mind.
- Answer questions in a strategic order: Easy questions first to build confidence. Then those with the most point value. On objective tests, eliminate obvious incorrect answers. On essay tests, broadly outline your answer and sequence of points.
- Review! if you have time. Resist the urge to leave when you complete the exam-- check if you have answered all the questions, and not made any errors or mis-marked any answers.
- Change answers to questions if you erred, or misread the question! You may also find information in the test that will correct a previous answer.
- Decide on and adopt study strategies that work best for you. Review where you succeed and where you are challenged. Check out your academic support center or a trusted teacher for advice.
Go with what you know. On objective tests, answer the ones you know first. If you’re not sure of an answer, skip it and come back later. (If the answer sheet is one of those machine-scored ones on which you fill in the bubble, be careful to leave an empty space each time you skip an answer.) On a multiple choice test, eliminate answers you know are not true. Despite advice to the contrary, if you have time left over, and if you are confident that you have answered an item incorrectly, go ahead and change it. It’s common for our brains to discover correct answers after spending more time on a test. So if you’re sure, change an answer.