How to take a test – Part 1

How to take a test – Part 1

Taking exams is stressful and we all know that. But it isn’t that bad! There are a few simple things that you can do to increase your score on any type of test. Here is the first part of a quick compilation of tips for taking tests:

1. Fast or Slow?

Look over the test quickly before you start. Or better yet, ask your professor. Determine whether the test is for speed or accuracy. If the test is for speed, like many standardized tests, your strategy is clear – answer as many questions as fast as possible.

Watch out though! There are a few tests that are made for accuracy. The teacher expects all students with an average grade to complete the test without being rushed. Wrong answers on this type of test will cost you big time!

2. Make time your friend.

See our article on time limits.

Budget your time evenly from the start to the finish. Stick to it! Virtually all standardized tests have a time allotment for each section. Find out in advance, and/or look through the st before you begin. If you can’t find out the time allotment for each section, use the points or percentage of the score as a proxy for the time limit for each section.

Use the allotted time for each section and move on to the next section whether you have completed it or not. Stick with the instructions and you will be able to answer the majority of the questions in each section.

With speed tests you will not be able to complete the entire test, and you are not expected to. Finding this out in advance will determine your test strategy.

3. Easy ones first.

This is a time tested strategy for taking a test, and is as true today as it has ever been. First, read the question and decide if you can answer it in less than a minute. If so, answer it and go on to the next question. If not, mark it for later and go on to the next question.

You don’t have to answer the questions in the order they appear on the page. Answering the easy questions first, boosts your confidence, relieves anxiety and gets your memory running smoothly and focused on the material.

The easy questions are your warm up!

4. Read All the essay question options first.

Read all the choices first. Then answer the questions that you can answer quickly within the designated amount of time (See #3 above). Answering the easy questions first will focus your mind on the material and you may be able to answer the difficult questions.

5. Answering the difficult questions.

Don’t waste a lot of time on the difficult questions. Mark them for later. When you have gone through the whole test, go back to the ones you have marked. Again, after your ‘warm up’ on the easy questions, you may be able to answer the difficult questions easily.   See also – How to Write Essay Questions

If you run out of time, don’t worry, you will have gained points by using your time the most efficiently, and answering as many questions that you know the answer to.

Do not skip a lot of questions and do not waste your time by reading the question over again. We suggest not to skip any more than one out of every ten questions.


How to Take a Test Part II

See Also – The Ultimate Guide to Test PreparationWhat to do in the Test Room

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Tips for Taking a Test - Part 1
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Taking a test? Increase your score with these test tips - Part 1

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