Examinations are a fact of life in college. When you take a test, you are demonstrating your ability to understand course material. Here are some tips to help you develop great test taking skills.
Take a Note from the Past. Always try to analyze how you did on a similar type of test in the past, i.e. multiple choice, and as well try to review previous tests and sample tests provided by your teacher. Each test that you take can help you to prepare for the next one!
Be Prepared. Always try to arrive early for tests—this will give you time to do a last minute review of your notes, and to take a deep breath and relax before you have to write the test. Make a list and prepare what you need, i.e. pens, pencils, calculator, beforehand to avoid last minute panic.
Be comfortable but alert. Choose a comfortable location with enough space for your needs—if you require additional space, try choosing a seat at the back or on the end of a row as opposed to right in the middle of the class or area. Try not to slouch; maintain good posture and stay relaxed and confident.
Relax. Keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are going to do your best. If you find yourself panicking, take a few deep breaths. Try not to talk to other students right before writing–stress can be contagious!
Avoid Careless Errors. Read the directions carefully, and if there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview. Previewing the test allows you to see how much time you need to allot for each section–if the test is all multiple choice questions, it is good to know that immediately. When answering essay questions, try to make an outline in the margin before you begin writing. Organization, clear thinking, and good writing is important, but so is neatness, so be sure to make your writing legible. Answer questions in a strategic order–easy questions first to build confidence, then those with the most point value. Allow yourself extra time for the more difficult parts, like essay questions if this is your area of weakness.
Review! If you have time, review your answers and ensure that you haven’t missed any questions. Resist the urge to leave when you complete the exam—a second review gives you a chance to change answers to questions if you made an error or misread the question.