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Test Taking Tips
Use the following tips to increase your odds when you do not know the answer. Remember to eliminate the choices that you know are incorrect, then apply these methods.
- Make 2-3 passes through the exam by doing the following:
- Pass one: answer only the questions that you know for sure
- Pass two: answer the remaining questions where you can rule out two incorrect answer choices.
- Pass three (if necessary): Answer the remaining questions using the test-taking tips below.
- Before you begin to answer any questions, write or draw any lists, diagrams, tables, etc. on your exam.
- On 4-choice questions, when two of four choices are opposites, pick one of those two as a guess.
- Non-answers (such as “none of the above”) are usually poor guesses.
- Avoid pairs. If question 28 is known to be “B”, avoid guessing “B” on 27 or 29.
- “All of the above” is generally a good guess.
- Longest multiple choice answers are good guesses.
- If two out of four choices are almost identical, pick the longer of the two.
- Assume a possible answer, then work backward to see if you are right.
- When limiting words are used (all, never, always, must) “false” is usually the best answer.
- When general terms are used (most, some, usually, could, might) “true” is usually the better answer.
- Do not change an answer unless you are absolutely sure that your new information is correct.
- Mark every question as you go, either with an answer or note to come back to it later.
- Initial guesses are often best. If an answer comes to you, stick with it. It is probably your right brain at work.
- Stay focused on the test. Do not get distracted by what others are doing or not doing.
- Keep a positive mental attitude. Remember that the exam does not define who you are.
Tools to Reduce Anxiety during Exams
A certain level of anxiety is completely normal during examinations. In fact, a little nervousness can heighten your awareness and increase your focus/mental clarity during an exam.
However, when anxiety begins to cloud your judgement and decrease your focus, it is no longer beneficial. Here are some tips to reduce anxiety when it causes you to lose focus during an exam:
- Maintain a positive attitude. Remember that the exam is simply testing your knowledge. Trust what you know and trust your preparation.
- Just do your best, and that is all you can do.
- Stay relaxed and breathe. Take slow deep breaths. The more oxygen to your brain, the better!
- Skim your test so you have a good idea of how to pace yourself.
- Write important formulas, facts, and/or key words in the margin so you will not forget them.
- Read through your test directions slowly and carefully.
- Do the simple questions first to help build your confidence for the more difficult questions.
- Focus on the question at hand. Do not let your mind wander.
- No matter the outcome, remember that the exam does not define who you are.
Study Strategies, Techniques & Tips
Having a focused study plan will increase your confidence the day of the exam and will help you succeed. Study with determination and implement these strategies so you will be well prepared.
- Determine which topics will be the “bulk” (or will be covered most) on the exam.
- Determine your strengths and weaknesses within the materials to be tested.
- Designate time daily for planned studying.
- Begin with the topics that will be the “bulk” of the exam and the topics that you struggle with most.
- Only study a few core areas each day. Remember, studying more than an hour without a break diminishes your ability to retain information.
- One day prior to the exam, skim over everything you have studied and review concepts you find difficult.
- The night before the exam, go to bed early.
- The morning/day of the exam, STOP studying. Trust that you know the information. Relax and eat a good breakfast.
- BE CONFIDENT! A positive mental attitude and positive self-talk goes a long way.
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Page last updated June 27, 2019