Beyond Studying: What Else to Do to Prepare for a Test

Beyond Studying: What Else to Do to Prepare for a Test

You already know the answer that most people will give you when you ask what you can do to prepare for a test:  “Study hard.”  It’s an annoying answer because it’s so obvious.  And even though it really is the best strategy, there are actually things that you can do beyond studying that will help you prepare to do a good job on that upcoming exam or test.  Here are a few suggestions.

1.  Make sure that you know what to expect from the test.  It reduces a lot of strategy if you know what the format of the test will be.  For instance, will it be largely essay question, multiple choice, true false or short answer?  some instructors use a combination of these methods.  Also, make sure you know exactly what material the test is going to cover.  If the instructor says, “everything from the book and lectures,” don’t settle for that.  Ask if there are certain things that are more important than others. Many instructors will relent and give a few hints.  Sometimes you don’t even need to study for certain parts, if you know that things that you know well will be covered.

2) Prepare your materials. Especially if you are taking an entrance test, College Entrance Test, Nursing Entrance Test or Armed Services Entrance Test, there is a lot riding on the result, so make sure everything is setup the night before.  It’s a hassle waiting until the morning of the test to get all of your materials together.  What if you can’t find something?  The worst thing you can do for your test score at this point is to get into an anxious state of mind.  Instead, the night before, make sure you have pencils, pens, erasers, calculator, and other necessary aids, all laid out, ready  to go in your backpack the next morning.

3) Listen to audiotapes. Depending on the course, there might be audiobooks available that cover some of the material you’ll be covering on the test.  While you’re doing other chores in the house, or even as you’re about to drift off to sleep, listen to the tape.  It might remind you of some important points that will be on the test (For that matter, you could make your own tape, specific to the test that you’ll be taking).

4) Get to bed early. Staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning on the night before a test can only hurt your performance.  You must be alert in order to do your best on a test.  Few people can concentrate when they’re tired.

But what if you try to go to sleep, but can’t?  After all, it’s fairly common for tension or adrenaline to keep you awake.  If this is the case, try reading something boring, drinking a glass of warm milk, doing a fwe exercises, or taking a warm bath. These will help you relax and put you to sleep faster.

5) Learn some tricks to manage stress. On the day of the test, you need to lower your stress level. There are a few ways you can do this.  Many people practice meditation or prayer as a way of calming themselves before a test.  Others learn some breathing exercises Chinese Breathing Exercises.  See our post on Breathing Exercises for Test Anxiety.  Do what’s necessary to clear your mind and put yourself in a good frame of mind.  Then go do your best–and beat the test.

See also our Ultimate Guide to Test Preparation,  and How to Answer Different Types of Questions


4 thoughts on “Beyond Studying: What Else to Do to Prepare for a Test”

  1. i think people have different ways to relax and prepare. me i love to eat a full meal of one of my favorites while my brother does not like to eat before a big exam

  2. Dress in layers – it might be hot or cold in the exam room and I find my body reacts in a funny way -0 even though it is warm – I am cold.

  3. I try not to read or study the night before the test. instead i listen to classical music or RnB to help me relax

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