Test-Taking Strategies

Here are 11 effective ways to prepare for that big test.

1. Eat before your test! If your test is early in the morning, eat a good breakfast.

If it’s during your regular lunchtime, eat a snack or a small lunch before. You won’t be able to focus if your stomach is making noises or you have a headache.

2. Get a real night’s sleep beforehand.

The world won’t end and your friends won’t abandon you if you skip one night out or miss a sporting event. The only reason to be up all night before an exam is if you’re pulling an all-nighter!

3. Give yourself plenty of time to study.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE. Seriously. Just don’t. If you took good notes and you study them, you’ll do fine!

4. If you’re really stuck on a subject, visit the professor’s office hours.

If you meet with them, made an effort in class, and still don’t do well on the exam they will be way more open to working something out because you showed that you tried.

5. If you get a cheatsheet, utilize it!

Make sure it’s organized so you aren’t using all of your time trying to find a formula. Color code it, label it, do what you have to do!

6. Star and/or circle any questions you’re stuck on and move on.

Don’t waste time staring at the question, you’ll just get flustered and frustrated.

7. If you’re a slower test taker, that’s okay!

Start with the essay/short answer questions and finish with the multiple choice ones. You don’t want to rush on the questions that are worth the most points.

8. If you’re a fast tester, use the extra time to double-check your answers.

Once I turned in a test and realized I missed an entire page… However, don’t use this extra time to second guess yourself. Be confident in your answers, but double check for spelling errors in essays or revisit the ones you starred.

9. If you’re stuck on the first question, flip the test over and start from the back.

10. If you have any type of learning disability, like dyslexia, ADHD, or anything that makes test-taking difficult, talk to your professor (privately) at the beginning of the semester to arrange test days.

It’s school policy to make accommodations for students who need them! Don’t be embarrassed about any of these things. A lot of professors can relate and only want to see you succeed!

11. Don’t cheat.

I know this one is obvious, but really. You could get kicked out of school for cheating and that’s the last thing you want. If you didn’t study, do your best, take the L, try to find some extra credit, but don’t cheat. One test grade isn’t going to make or break you, but getting kicked out of college will.

  This resource is presented by Kaplan Test Prep, offering test preparation, practice tests and private tutoring for more than 90 standardized tests, including SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, USMLE & NCLEX.

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