Examples of test taking strategies for all disciplines
Before the test, remember the following:
- Study in a location that is quiet and private.
- Review your class notes, books, and study guides on a daily basis (Procrastinating until the night before the test and then cramming is the least effective strategy).
- Review your class notes, books, and study guides on a weekly basis.
- Study in chunks (20-50 minutes) separated by breaks (5-10 minutes).
- Ask your instructor what to expect on the test, the format of the test, how to review, and if review questions are available.
- Engage in collaborative learning by forming study groups to test each other, compare notes, brainstorm and anticipate test questions, etc.
During the test, remember the following:
- Read the directions carefully.
- Answer the easiest questions first.
- Ask yourself if your final answer makes sense to you.
- Pace yourself by tracking time.
- For short essays exams, answer each question exactly by changing it into a topic sentence and retaining as much of the question as possible and then creating a brief outline.
- Question: What is a theme of Hamlet by William Shakespeare?
- Topic Sentence: One theme of Hamlet by William Shakespeare is . . .
- Outline: briefly outline the order of your ideas before starting.
- Never cheat or plagiarize, regardless of how unprepared you find yourself.
Begin preparing early
- Pay attention during class: every minute you daydream in class is many more minutes of studying later.
- Do assigned homework problems: math is a building process and in order to understand the next step you need to comprehend the present and previous ones.
Simulate test conditions
- After you have studied and think you know the material, practice it under test conditions.
- Solve unassigned homework problems and see if you can finish them in the allotted time for the exam.
Know your professor
- Study a copy of the exam of a previous class if available. If not available, ask for a copy of a previous class exam
Form a study group of 3-4 dedicated students
- Not only will other students be able to help you with problems, but by helping others you will better learn the material. If you are unable teach another student a topic you believe you know, chances are you don’t know that topic very well after all. If you can’t teach it, you don’t know it!
Carefully read the instructions
- Make sure you are answering the question that is being asked!
- Often students know how to solve a problem, but they misread or misinterpret the question itself.
Check that you have correctly rewritten the problem
- If you use a scratch piece of paper make sure that you correctly rewrite the problem.
- Don’t skip steps. Start from the beginning.
Clearly write each step of the solution
- Be neat and don’t rush writing numbers down.
- Keep checking your solution as you are working.
- Neatness makes it easier to recheck your work.
Don’t Dilly Dally
- If you get stuck on a problem, move on and come back to it later.
- When you are finished, recheck all your work.