Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope everyone’s day is full of joy or at least that your coffee kicked in this morning (and if you still don’t need coffee, count your blessings, freshman, I was there once too). Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on how to prepare for tests. Today, you’ll want to fasten your seat belts because we have the highly anticipated sequel on how to rock your tests with confidence!
Part of my on-campus job is to work with other students on improving their study skills and reducing school stress. A huge part of that is test anxiety. If you’ve had it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whether you’ve studied hard or hardly studied, when test anxiety comes up, your mind goes blank and whatever information that you had in your head is gone. Full disclosure, I’ve never had that problem, but even thinking about that scenario is a little nerve-wracking.
In my previous post in this series I recommend practice tests, which are a great way to combat test anxiety. To really overcome this problem you need to get comfortable with tests. There are other strategies you can apply during your tests that can make them less overwhelming when you’re actually taking the test. Today’s post will cover five tips that you can use for any kind of test you take.
1. Preview the Test
Hopefully your professor is kind enough to share what your test will cover or what format it might be in. Whether they do or not, it’s still important to know your test before you truly begin!
When you get your test, take a minute to flip through. See if you can identify different sections or if some questions have more points than others.
As you’re going through your test, be sure to read the directions and questions for each part. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost points for making dumb mistakes just because I read something wrong. Don’t do that. Breathe and take your time trying to understand the questions.
2. Make a Plan
Your goal for the test is probably to earn as many points as possible, right? While it’s important to make sure you’re learning in class, once you face a test, you need to demonstrate that you know your stuff by getting a good grade. So what can you do on your test to make that a little more likely? If time is a concern to you, make sure you get the easy questions out of the way first. If all the problems are weighted the same–say 50 two-point questions–then it makes sense to focus on those easier points. Which leads me to my third tip…
3. Get Stuck? Move on.
If you’re struggling with a test question and you straight up don’t know, move on. If you’re allowed to, mark your paper as a reminder that you didn’t do the question and keep going.
I like this tip for a couple of reasons. First, there’s been times where I’ve been stuck on an early problem and then find one later that jogs my memory enough to answer the first one. Second, if you just keep staring at the same problem, you’ll doubt how much you know everything else. That will probably lead to lost time and confidence, and you don’t want that!
4. Review Your Test Answers
Once you’ve made it through your test, double check your answers. To maximize your time, again start by looking at sections worth the most.
You can also do this page by page while you’re going through the test. I like to circle all the answers on my test paper, and then review them as I’m bubbling them in on my Scantron. The only downside to this alternative is it’s a little less efficient.
5. Revisit Unanswered Questions
Finally, now that you know you’ve done your best on the majority of your test, circle back to those blank questions! The reason you want to save them for last, is that you now have the full test in your head. Try and visualize what you’ve reviewed before the test and look at the different test questions for clues. If you’re not having any luck pulling out an answer, try and narrow it down to two before you guess.
Congrats, you made it through your test! In the next post in this study tips series, I’ll share what you can do after your test, besides celebrate of course!
What kind of study tips help you rock your tests?
Until next time,