Help with Taking Tests

Here are some general tips for successful test taking. Following these tips does not ensure that you will receive a passing grade (you will still need to know the material), but these suggestions may help you feel more comfortable while taking the examination.

Basic Tips for Test-taking

Taking a test can be a nerve-rattling experience, often accompanied by sighs, groans, cold sweats and upset stomachs.

To overcome some of these difficulties, the following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Come prepared; arrive early for tests.
  • Stay relaxed and confident.
  • Be comfortable but alert.
  • Preview the test (if not timed).
  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • When taking a multiple choice test, know when to guess.
  • When taking essay tests, get right to the point.
  • When taking essay tests, think before you write.
  • Reserve 10 percent of your test time for review.
  • Analyze your results.

Test Anxiety

Here are some helpful hints to deal with test anxiety:

  • Learn your material thoroughly.
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Relax just before an exam.
  • Don't go to an exam with an empty stomach.
  • Take a piece of candy or some other nourishment to help take your mind off your anxiety.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.

Tips to help with essay questions

Essay tests require students to recall main ideas and details and organize them intelligently. These tests usually consist of short answers of a sentence or two, a list or longer discussion answers.

The following tips will help you to be prepared for this type of test:

  • Make sure you understand the question you are being asked to answer.
  • Repeat the question in your first paragraph and show how you will develop the answer.
  • Plan your major points.
  • Make sure your major points stand out.
  • Support your major points with examples and facts.
  • Make sure there is a clear transition between major points.
  • Cover completely all major points needed to answer the question.
  • Stick to the question being asked.
  • Conclude your essay with a summary statement.
  • Proofread your essay for spelling, grammar, run-on sentences, etc.
  • Make sure your handwriting is legible!

Taking Math Tests

Just as it is important to think about how you spend your study time (in addition to actually doing the studying), it is important to think about what strategies you will use when you take a test (in addition to actually doing the problems on the test). Good test-taking strategy can make a big difference to your grade!

Tips for taking a math test:

  • Begin preparing early. Do homework problems.
  • Simulate test conditions.
  • Know your professor. Study an old copy of an exam.
  • Form a study group of 3-4 dedicated students.
  • Read through the exam.
  • Make sure you are answering the questions asked.
  • Check that you have written the problem correctly.
  • Clearly write each step.
  • Be neat, don't rush writing numbers down.
  • Double check your math.
  • Double check your calculator work immediately.
  • If you get stuck on a problem, move on.

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