“I’m just not a good test taker. That’s why I failed the final…”
Have you ever said that to yourself? This seems to be a general excuse that most college students use when they get a bad grade. There is no such thing as a “bad test taker.” There is, however, such a thing as an unprepared test taker. If you want to get the best score every time you take an exam, you need to realize what it takes to get a good grade on a test. Here are a few tips that can help you do just that.
1 – Answer Lightly
If you have to take one of those fill-in-the-bubble tests, make your first set of answers very light. Then go back over the answers and darken the ones you are confident in. This will give you a chance to erase if you need to, without having to worry about the machine picking up a wrong answer.
2 – Study in Advance
You probably know by now that those last minute cram sessions are bad for you, so this part should come as no surprise. If you want to get a good score on a test, you have to study well in advance. That will ensure that you know the material inside and out. Take one chunk of material to study every night, and then all you will have to do is review right before the test.
3 – Double Check Everything
Even if you know all the answers to a test the first time around, go back through it a second time just to confirm that you picked all the right answers. Your mind may know what to say, but your fingers may need a double check to catch up.
4 – Sleep Well
A good night of sleep will make sure you have all the energy you need to do well on your test. Try to study right before you go to sleep so your brain can absorb information throughout your slumbers. You should remember a lot more in the morning this way.
5 – Get There Early
There is nothing wrong with getting to a test early. You may feel like a dork for doing so, but at least you won’t have to worry about being late. This will ensure you get all the information you need to take a test well.
6 – Ignore Everyone Else
If you have to take a test in a room with other people, ignore them entirely. It’s easy to get anxious when you think you’re going much slower than everyone else, but you can’t let that psych you out. If you’re the last person in the testing room, so be it. At least you’ll have a good grade to look forward to.
7 – Practice
If you have a chance to take a practice test, do so. You wouldn’t go into one of the top careers without first getting a degree or completing a training program…right? The same theory applies here. Take a practice test to get a feel for what you need to know, and your grades will be better off as a result.
8 – Eat before the Test
Get some food in your system so you can have enough energy to do well on the test. Something as simple as an apple and a piece of cheese could make a big difference in your test taking abilities. At the very least, it will ensure that your stomach doesn’t growl and distract you during the test.
9 – Use Your Time Wisely
You need to avoid rushing through your test, but you also need to make sure you leave enough time to complete everything. Go through the whole test once and answer as many questions as you can. Then go back over it again to spend more time on the ones you are hesitant about. At least then you will have as many points as possible before time runs out.
10 – When in Doubt, Guess
If you have absolutely no idea about an answer on a test, put something – anything – down. You know you won’t get credit for a blank answer, but there is at least a chance you will get credit for an answer you’re not confident on. This is especially true with multiple choice, since all you have to do is pick a letter. If you happen to do well as a result of a series of guesses, you will know what you need to study in the future.