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Test Taking Tips

In college, tests are unavoidable. Having strategies for taking different types of tests can improve your performance. By understanding what is expected for each test-type, you can gain confidence, which will trickle down into better test performance and lessen test anxiety.

Preparing for the Test

There are some general strategies that you can take to be successful for a test in any subject.

Prepare Early - start on the first day of class by practicing good note taking strategies, attending all classes, arriving on time, and staying until the end of class.

Know Expectations - reading the syllabus can give you great information on the instructor's expectations and testing format. A large part of fear and anxiety comes from the unknown. The more you know about what is expected concerning evaluations and exams, the more at ease you will be.

Keep Up - Manage your time and keep up with daily reading, homework, and assignments.NEVER CRAM!

Ask Questions - Do this in class, as you read and as you review. Constantly think of possible questions that the instructor might ask on a test.

Review Early - Preview chapters before every class and review notes after each class.

Review Weekly - Spend about an hour each week reviewing class notes, reading notes, chapter questions, note cards, mind maps, flash cards, a checklist of items to study, and summaries written in your own words.

Final Review - About a week before the test, conduct a major review - practice test questions, compare concepts, integrate major points, and review and recite with a study team.

During the Test

·         Arrive Early – you don’t want to be frantic and late before a test. Arrive a few minutes early, practice deep breathing and afforimations, and visualize yourself relaxed and completing the test successfully.

·         Organize yourself – write your name and then “brain dump.” Write words, facts, formulas, dates, principles, or statistics in pencil on the back of your paper or in the margins as soon as you get the test.

·         Read instructions – Sometimes missing a word or part of a question can cost you valuable points. Be sure to read and understand the instructions before answering the question.

·         Pace Yourself – make your time count. Look at points for each question and determine the importance that should be given to each section. For example, you will want to spend more time on an essay worth 25 points than on a multiple choice worth 5.

·         Review – once you have finished, reread the test and check for careless mistakes or spelling errors. Stay the entire time, answer extra-credit questions, and fill in details, if time permits.

Not sure if you suffer from test anxiety? Take this survey and find out. If you do have test anxiety, use the strategies laid out in the Handling Stress module!

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