Test Taking Strategies
2 March, 2017

Test Taking Strategies

Most students are anxious, feel stressed and nervous on the exam day, even if they have prepared adequately. The following pieces of advice will help you to come through the exam day.

Preparation for Examination: Test Taking Tips

  • Do not cram the night before test. While a short review will be useful, you have to avoid exhaustive cramming sessions before the test.
  • Get physically ready. Yes, preparation before exam includes physical preparation as well. You have much better chances to succeed if you have a good sleep before a test day. In addition, eat a healthy meal and be well hydrated before the test starts. At the same time, do not overeat or consume excessive caffeine.
  • Find out everything about the test before it starts. Ask your professor about the format of the exam, get to know if there is a strict time limit, and find out whether you will have to write an essay or do it orally. If you are not so good at essays, research potential topics and write down an outline so that you can save time for other sections during the exam.

How to Act During the Test

  • Read the test directions attentively. If there is something unclear, ask your professor for clarification. Do not feel confused: your classmates will probably have similar questions. If the other student asks questions, do not get so engrossed in your exam that you miss the answers to their questions.
  • Look through the test before you start. It is one of the most useful exam day tips. Try to assess the entire test and create a brief plan how you will divide your time. If the teacher provides the point value for every section or question, concentrate on those ones that have the highest value if you expect time pressure.
  • Read each question thoroughly. Sometimes, in order to challenge you, professors suggest questions, which are quite different from those you expect to see. However, if you think that a question is difficult to understand or has some typos, ask the teacher for explanation.
  • Create a strategy for true/false and multiple-choice questions. Read questions carefully and, if it can help, solve the problem on the other sheet of paper. If you still have no clear understanding of the answer, skip this question for several minutes and solve other questions, which you can handle quickly. For true/false questions, remember that absolute answers, like “never” or “always,” are usually false. For multiple-choice questions, rule out those options, which are wrong for sure, and make an educated guess.
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