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How to Pass a School Test

Updated on August 30, 2022
Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul has spent many years teaching English as a foreign and second language. He has taught EFL in Taiwan and Thailand, and ESL in the U.S.

Students Taking a Test


School Tests

Understanding how to pass a school test, quizzes, and examinations is a major task and concern for most school students. Although many teachers don't like to give exams and almost all students hate taking them, exams or tests are excellent objective tools for measuring students' progress and competency in learning. For this reason, they are here to stay. In dealing with tests, it is necessary for students first to have strategies for preparation, and then know how to take and successfully pass them. This article will examine successful strategies used during my days as a student as well as strategies students have employed during my career teaching EFL and ESL.

How to Prepare for a Test

The first step in passing tests is being well prepared to take them. If students are unprepared for tests, chances are very good that they are going to fail them. In preparing well for tests, it is necessary to do the following:

1. Do All Homework Assignments:

Many students hate doing homework assignments either because they are too lazy to do them, or because they don't understand the assignments. These are invalid excuses for good students to use in avoiding homework. Teachers give homework to students as a means of practicing and reinforcing what has already been learned in the classroom. Many teachers. including myself, take homework assignment questions, and put them on tests and quizzes. For this reason, it is worthwhile for students to do all the assigned homework.

2. Know What Subject Matter Will Be on the Test:

When I hold a general review for my tests, I always tell students about the subject matter which will be on the tests. For example, if we have been studying the uses of the present perfect tense in class, I will let my students know that they will be held responsible for using the present perfect tense with the words "ever", "already", "yet", "for", and "since" to both ask and answer questions. If a teacher does not announce what subject matter will be included on a test, it is the student's responsibility to find out from the teacher so that students know what to study and prepare for.

3. Know What Kinds of Questions Will Be on the Test:

Smart students will find out the kinds of questions which will be on tests. Will the tests have all true and false or multiple choice questions? Will the tests be fill-in-the-blank or essay questions? Will the tests have you just recall facts from memory, or are the tests where you must think and apply concepts and principles you have learned? Students should be aware of the types of questions they can expect to find on tests so that they can prepare by answering similar practice questions.

4. Do All Test Review Worksheets Prepared by the Teacher:

Most teachers will provide their students with test review worksheets. These worksheets will summarize the subject matter and types of questions that will be on the tests. The students must study these worksheets and do any of the practice questions which are on the sheets. In my teaching experience, the students who did not complete the review worksheets did the worst on my tests.

5. Relax and Get a Good Night's Sleep Before the Test:

If students have done all of the homework and understand the subject matter, there is no need to worry about taking tests. The important thing is to relax and get a good night's sleep right before the day of the test.

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Preparing for a Test

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How to Take and Pass a School Test

In addition to preparing well for tests, it is necessary to employ effective strategies while taking tests in the classroom. Some worthwhile tips are as follows:

1. Prepare in Advance Everything You Need for the Test:

When students arrive in the classroom for tests, they should make sure they already have everything needed for taking the test. This would include pencil cases that have pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, protractors, correction fluid, and perhaps other supplies. I have seen too many students waste time by searching for a pen or pencil when they should have already started answering test questions.

2. Understand How Much Time You Have to Complete the Test and Budget Your Time:

A 15-minute quiz is much different than an hour-long test. If you know the time allotted for a test, you will be able to budget your time and utilize it effectively in answering test questions. When students get their tests, they should first glance through the whole paper and start formulating a strategy to answer questions. I have always found it a good idea to answer the easier questions first and then come back later to answer the harder ones. By doing this, you are not wasting time. Also, pay attention to how many points each section of a test is worth. On most tests, some parts are worth more than others. When answering questions, it is always a good idea to spend more time on the questions which are worth the most points.

3. Answer All Questions:

Unless there is no penalty for not answering a question, students should answer all questions on tests. On the tests I give, an unanswered question is wrong. For this reason, students should make an educated guess if they are not sure of the answer. When answering true and false or multiple-choice questions, there is a good chance of guessing the correct answer if you can discard the incorrect answers.

4. Check Your Answer:

Too many students make careless mistakes on tests because they don't take the time to check and recheck their answers. If you budget your time wisely, you should have enough time to check all of the answers on your test.

5. Relax and Don't Panic:

This is easier said than done, but if you start to panic during a test because you can't answer questions, call a timeout and ask to be excused briefly from the testing area. You could use the excuse of having to go to the bathroom. By doing this, you get to relax and clear your head.

Preparing for a test is the most important thing to do if you want to pass. By understanding all classwork and completing all practice homework assignments, students should be in good shape to take tests. When taking tests, remember to budget your time and relax. If students do all of this, I am confident they will pass tests with flying colors.

How to Pass a School Test

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Paul Richard Kuehn


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