Do you panic when exam time comes? Do you freeze up when you get your test? Are you consistently cramming and staying up late memorizing vocabulary, systems, and strategies? You’re not alone! However, the students with the best grades learn how to study properly and learn test-taking strategies early on. If you are looking to boost your grades by getting better test scores, here are some of our top test-taking tips:
- Study Early! – This is probably the most important concept and one that most students ignore. Don’t procrastinate; start studying as soon as you cover the material in class, NOT the night before.
- Learn the Material – Don’t memorize it, LEARN it. You will score higher on tests if you learn the material and understand the concepts rather than memorizing parts of it.
- Apply the Material to Something Familiar – Most people learn better when the material is applied to something familiar, such as a personal situation, a specific situation or everyday life. For example, if you’re studying for an exam in Business Administration, apply that new knowledge to a new idea you have for a business, or perhaps a situation where you worked for another business. You will learn the material better if you relate it to something.
- Check Your Old Tests – If the tests are cumulative, check your old tests and practice the questions you got wrong on them.
- Eat Breakfast – You can’t focus as well on an empty stomach, so make sure you have a full breakfast. Bring a water bottle to the exam in case you get thirsty.
- Wear Comfortable Clothing – Make sure you are comfortable during the test. Uncomfortable or tight clothing might distract you, taking away your focus and concentration.
- Use the Bathroom Before the test – Make sure you use the bathroom 10-15 minutes before the test. There is nothing worse than having to be escorted to the bathroom during the middle of the exam. Not only do you lose time and focus, it’s also embarrassing!
- Arrive Early – Get to the exam room early and pick a good seat. Give yourself time to set up, bring the right materials or tools, and do a quick review before the test starts.
- Relax – If you are nervous or anxious, take a few deep breaths and relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and be mindful of any tension in your body. You have learned all you can learn already, so there is no use being anxious about it. You will do better if you relax and don’t stress.
- Read the Directions – This is VERY important. Make sure you read the directions and each question carefully and thoroughly. You can easily miss points or get marks taken off for not answering the question properly or following directions.
- Do a Brain Dump – At the beginning of the test, take a piece of scrap paper (if permitted) or the back of a test page and write down any facts, vocabulary, or pieces of information you think you may forget. You can reference this sheet later and will feel less anxious after having written some of it down.
- Keep Track of Multiple Choice Answers – If your test is a multiple choice Scantron or electronic test, keep track of where you are in filling out the bubbles. Double check every 10 questions or so, as one mistake can ruin the rest of the exam.
- Look Over the Exam – Look over the exam briefly before you start. This will help you use your time wisely, so you don’t run out of time in the end.
- Answer Questions in a Strategic Order – Answer the easy questions or questions you know the answer to first. Next, answer the questions which will take the least amount of time. Leave the tough questions and essay questions for the end. If you answer the hard or long questions first you may end up with no time left to answer the others, thus losing easy marks.
- If you Don’t Know, Guess! – If you are not sure what the right answer is, take a guess! Guessing is usually better than leaving the question blank.
Review your Answers – If you finish early review each question to ensure you did not misread the questions. Do not second guess yourself! If you are considering changing your answer but aren’t 100% sure, leave it! Don’t change it! Your first instinct is usually right!
By following these tips you can maximize the likelihood of getting a good test score. Good luck!