Test-taking Strategies

Test Preparation

Preparing for a test begins on the first day of class. Proactivity up front will save you stress down the road.

Go to review sessions and pay attention to any hints that the instructor may give about the test. Take notes and ask questions about items you may be confused about.

Go over any material from practice tests, homework, sample problems, review material, the textbook, and class notes, then put the main ideas onto a sheet that can be quickly reviewed many times, this makes it easier to retain the key concepts that will be on the test.

Practice Self Care

Eat before a test. Having food in your stomach will give you energy and help you focus but avoid heavy foods which can make you groggy.

Don’t try to pull an all-nighter. Budget your study time so that you are still able to get a good night’s sleep before the test.

Set your alarm and have a backup alarm set as well, then try to show up at least 5 minutes before the test will start.

Test Taking

When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so that you know how to efficiently budget your time.

Do the easiest problems first. Don’t stay on a problem that you are stuck on especially when time is a factor. If you don’t know an answer, skip it. Go on with the rest of the test and come back to it later. Other parts of the test may have some information that will help you out with that question.

If you have time left when you are finished, look over your test. Make sure that you have answered all the questions, only change an answer if you misread or misinterpreted the question because the first answer that you put is usually the correct one.


When you get your test back look it over and make sure that there are no grading mistakes.

Make sure you understand what you got wrong. If the teacher reviews the test in class, be sure to take notes on what the teacher wanted for an answer on the questions/problems that you answered incorrectly.

If permitted, save the test as study material for future cumulative tests.