Friday, June 12, 2015

Student Tips: Tools to boost your test taking skills - B

Tips to boost your test taking skills - B

In the previous blog, we discussed ideas about how to best prepare for a test and ways to boost your recall. Here are a few well-known ideas about actually taking the test itself. While these ideas may appear obvious, remembering to use them can help you answer questions more effectively. Most of us have arrived for a test so nervous that we jump in and begin answering questions without even reading the instructions.

Here are more ideas to consider when taking tests.
  • Read the test instructions carefully to make sure you understand them.
  • Don’t overlook the obvious. For example, if the teacher asks you to use a pen, don’t write in pencil.
  • Also, do not overlook what the teacher is requesting on a test. For example, if the directions say to compare and contrast two terms, do not simply define them.
  • Reading the directions carefully also helps you plan a strategy for the test. For example, if there are 40 true-false questions worth 20 points and 10 essay questions worth 80 points, you obviously should spend most of your time on the essay questions.
  • Do a quick survey of the questions before answering them. This gets your mind working and the questions in the latter part of the test may offer hints about earlier questions.
  • It is often helpful to start with the easy stuff; that is, the questions you know first. This allows you to complete as many questions as possible and helps build your confidence.
  • Try not to spend too much time on any one question. If you are stuck, move on and give your brain a chance to keep trying to recall the information. You may want to put a mark by that question so you can easily return to it.
Essay and short-answer questions require a special type of approach. Questions that ask you to recall, organize, and analyze information while writing an answer are called subjective tests.  For these types of questions, how you present the information will likely influence your grade. Make sure to look for key words in the questions to identify what is being emphasized and estimate the time you can devote to each question. If time permits, you may want to quickly jot down the ideas you want to present to help keep you on track and present ideas in a logical manner. And make sure to be neat and write legibly. 

There are multiple other tools available to help improve your test taking skills on various types of tests and questions. Check out various resources on this topic as well as our book: Study Your Way to Success.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website:

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