Survival Strategies for Taking Tests

Before you Begin:

Taking a Test:

  • 4. Read the directions. (Can more than one answer be correct? Are you penalized for guessing? etc.) Never assume that you know what the directions say.
  • 5. Answer the easy questions first. This will give you the confidence and momentum to get through the rest of the test. You are sure these answers are correct.
  • 6. Go back to the difficult questions. While looking over the test and doing the easy questions, your subconscious mind will have been working on the answers to the harder ones. Also, later items on the test might give you useful or needed information for earlier items.
  • 7. Answer all questions (unless you are penalized for wrong answers).
  • 8. Ask the instructor to explain any items that are not clear. Do not ask for the answer, but phrase your question in a way that shows the instructor that you have the information but are not sure what the question is asking for.
  • 9. Try to answer the questions from the instructor's point of view. Try to remember what the instructor emphasized and felt was important.
  • 10. Use the margin to explain why you chose the answer if the question does not seem clear or if the answer seems ambiguous.
  • 11. Circle key words in difficult questions. This will force you to focus on the central point.
  • 12. Express difficult questions in your own words. Rephrasing can make it clear to you, but be sure you don't change the meaning of the question.
  • 13. Use all of the time allotted for the test. If you have extra time, cover up your answers and actually rework the question.
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  • For more tips and practice using these tips , you may want to purchase Practicing College Learning Strategies 3rd edition by Carolyn Hopper published by Houghton Mifflin, 2003
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