Tips for Students Taking Tests
Test taking strategies are one of the most important tools you can have for a successful college career. Exams at the college level can be a lot different from the ones you may be used to taking in high school, as well as being quite a bit more unforgiving of mistakes. No matter what your major or area of study, there are certain test taking tips you can use to help boost your exam scores. If you find yourself doing well on assignments but struggling on exam day, try using some of these strategies to help boost your scores.
Go to Class
For many new college students, the urge to skip class can feel overpowering at times. However, actually attending classes, taking notes and doing whatever it takes to engage with the material is still the surest way to ace your tests.
Have a Study Plan
You should never go into a test not knowing what to expect. Make sure you know what kinds of questions are going to be on the exam and exactly what material will be covered. Ask your professor if you are not sure.
Know What Resources Are Available
Lots of college has a host of resources available to students preparing for tests, though not all of them are well advertised. Your professor’s office hours are always a good place to ask questions or get clarification on the material. If you need more in-depth help, find out if there is a study center or learning lab on campus, or recruit a friend from class to act as a study buddy.
Rest Before the Test
It may be tempting to cram all night before the test. However, a good night’s sleep will do a lot more to help you retain knowledge. Do your best to be relaxed and positive when you sit down to take the test.
Read Instructions Carefully
When you get the test in hand, don’t just start answering questions. First, read all the instructions carefully. Some tests may have a different format than what you are used to, and especially those with sort answer or essay sections may have unique requirements.
Annotate or Notate
Use the margins of your test or a piece of scratch paper if allowed to write down any notes you think might be useful at the beginning of the test. You can also circle or underline key phrases in the instructions to give yourself a reminder of the test requirements.
Regardless of how a given exam turns out, try to learn from the experience. Even a less-than-stellar score can teach you something about how to do better next time.