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Test Taking Tips

Many instructors like to give students exams to allow them to show all that they have learned.  In some sense it's a time for students to "show off" their new knowledge.  

There's something about the word test or exam that sends fear into the bones of students.  That one word can send all parts of a student's world into a tailspin. Everything goes into fast motion and things are done with the utmost importance and must be completed quickly because an exam is coming!  


The instructor gives so much advanced notice that there is no emotional reaction at all.  "There's plenty of time!  I know all of this stuff anyway.  There's no hurry.  I'll get it done before it's time."  Yet the time comes so quickly and the time for preparation doesn't happen as it should.

Do either of these responses sound familiar to you?  There are some strategies that can help prevent the panic or the procrastination of studying for tests. 

Study Hack #1

Start with a plan.  What do you know well?  What don't you know?  What do you need to review? Schedule the time to dedicate to studying for the exam.

Study Hack #2

Don't wait until the last minute to begin studying.  Studying in short time periods across several days will move the content into your memory in a more reliable way.  Cramming only works for the short term.  It is rare that a course be completely stand alone and the knowledge isn't needed for another course later.  

Study Hack #3

Explore your notes.  I know you wrote them in the beginning but do the words and concepts make sense? Do you know the content that is written on that page?  Don't be fooled by the comfort of seeing your own handwritten notes as truly knowing the content.

Study Hack #4

Make your own quiz from your notes or study guide.  Try to take it.  How well did you do?  Have someone quiz you.  Be sure to mix up the questions so that you don't become comfortable with the order and miss the content. 

Study Hack #5

Believe you can do well.  So much of what we do is dependent on what we believe about ourselves. You have studied. You are ready. Your brain is plenty big enough to hold the content you are learning.