Tips For Test Taking -
Improving Test Taking Skills

These tips for test taking can really help improve your test results and relieve a lot of stress and test taking anxiety.

Exams can be a little nerve racking. I guess my worst was taking the Bar Exam. Imagine being in a room with several hundred students. They have all managed to graduate from law school. And they all know that 2/3s of them will not pass the exam they are about to take. Yes, I did pass. Here are the tips I used.

Successful test taking starts with preparation.

Before The Exam Tips for Test Taking

 1. Do the best you can to study the material.
Some people find studying with friends very helpful. Others do best studying on their own. Some people learn best by reading, some by writing, and some by speaking the material out loud. Discover which style works best for you. (I used a yellow highlighter to emphasize the important points in my class notes. Then I would read them into a tape recorder and listen to them a few times.)

 2. Get a good night sleep. It's important for clear thinking and
stress relief.

 3. Visualize your successful completion of the exam before it starts.
“See” yourself easily answering the questions correctly. Top athletes use this technique before any important competition. It can really help test taking as well.

 4. In your mind and heart, dedicate your efforts to some larger purpose than just your own personal survival or success.
This practice seems to bring into your work a much greater energy and ability. Perhaps you dedicate your efforts to helping your family and those you love. Perhaps you dedicate your endeavor to promoting the well being of your country, or relieving the suffering of mankind or to the service of God. How you phrase it is a very personal choice.

 5. Prepare a sweater; dress in layers so that you are not distracted if the room is too hot or cold.

 6. Prepare a thermos of pure water to stay hydrated. It is easier to stay focused when we are not thirsty.

 7. If test rules permit, have a healthy snack with you for an energy boost if you need it.

 8. Bring an accurate watch to keep track of the time.

During the Exam Tips for Test Taking

  9.  Focus.

 10. Avoid distractions.

 11. Ask the teacher to explain the directions if you don’t understand them.

 12. Budget your time. Use your watch to track the time. Don’t spend too long on any single answer.

 13. Read the questions carefully. Make sure you answer the question that is actually being asked. So often through the years I knew the right answer but did not read the question accurately. Answering a different question then the one asked does not help you score. Start with the easy questions first.

 14. Mark the more difficult questions so you know to come back to them later.

 15. Come back to the more difficult questions after you have answered the ones which are easy for you.

 16. Don't be afraid to guess if you don't know the answer. Usually you will not be penalized and you might guess right.

 17. Resist the temptation to change your answers to questions. Often our first answers are correct and our later changes are detrimental to our scores.

 18. Don’t waste precious time worrying. Recognize you don’t have time to worry about the results. Just do the work in front of you as best you can.

 19. If you start to get nervous, close your eves, take three long slow deep breaths and then go back to work.
Slow deep breathing for stress relief really helps.

 20. If time permits check your work carefully to avoid careless errors like marking the wrong box by mistake.

After The Exam Tips For Test Taking

Stretch...
Get some exercise.
Get some sunshine if you can.
It really helps after you've been cooped up in an exam.

Then...

Consider whether there is anything you might choose to improve upon next time.
Using these tips for test taking and improving your test taking skills may take some practice.
Remember that school and life are all about learning. It is an ongoing process.

Congratulate yourself.

Regardless of your score, you did the very best you could in that moment.

Read more tips on how to deal with stress and school or,

explore a wide range of natural stress relief tips on
Gentle Stress Relief home page.