Lesson 5: Test-taking Strategies

Click for introductory video for Lesson 5

Being well prepared for a test involves time management, high-quality note-taking, and regular reviews of material. There are 3 types of reviews that can better prepare you for test-taking: regular, weekly reviews; reviews just before the test; and posttest reviews of your test performance. Doing well on a test involves test anticipation, preparation, and analysis of performance.

Test Anticipation:

  • What format will the test be? Multiple choice, short answer, essay, combination?
  • How much is the test worth?
  • How much time will you have to write the test?
  • Are you allowed to use notes or text?
  • What materials will be needed ? Calculator, ruler, pencil?
  • Have you regularly reviewed the notes for the test?
  • How much study time will you need? When will you study and for how long each time?
  • Were previous tests similar to this one? Were there quizzes on this material?

Test Preparation:

  • Spread your study time over several days and take regular short breaks
  • Study difficult or “boring” subjects first
  • Schedule study time during your best time of day
  • Study where you’ll be alert (not in bed or in easy chairs or sofas where you can get too comfortable).
  • Revise class and text notes
  • Concentrate on remembering the main ideas and most important information
  • Ask questions of yourself; provide yourself with elaborate explanations
  • Study with a partner to compare notes and test each other
  • Review main topics and subtopics

Posttest Analysis:

  • Did you receive the grade you expected?
  • Analyze the missing answers: Were they in your notes? In your text? On a quiz? Did you not provide enough detail?
  • Analyze the type of questions: Did you perform better on a certain type of question?
  • Did you have enough time to finish the test and to review your answers?

A printable version of these Test-taking Strategies can be found HERE.

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