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Test-Taking Tips for the College Student

Updated on April 13, 2013
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History. She also homeschools her children.

Don't stress about test, use these tips instead.
Don't stress about test, use these tips instead. | Source

Successful test-taking comes down to one element- adequate preparation. Okay, so that statement dind't blow you away with profoundness, but it's true.

According to Kanar, author of the book "The Confident Student", good test takers recognize key words in questions to help them determine the answer the teacher is looking for, and use effective studying strategies for the test type. So other than reading the textbook in the first place, how can students best perform on tests and quizzes?

Kanar (2011) first reminds students to vary the resources they study from. For example, students should review lecture notes, the textbook chapter headings, textbook notes, study guides, previous test questions (p. 267) for a good variety on perspectives on the subject. Your teacher may stress something more than the book, or the book might include visuals that you wouldn't be able to replicate in your notes.

Kanar also suggests avoid “cramming” when possible, and during finals time, studying for the most difficult test first while your brain and body are most receptive. Using relaxation techniques before and during the test may also help students to avoid needless mistakes.

Prepare for the test with this simple plan:

  • Study daily, weekly and (of course) right before the exam.
  • Use graphic organizers for cues.
  • Review from a variety of sources- use lecture notes, the textbook, study guides, graded papers, class handouts. Work with a study group

When you do study, gather everything you need before you sit down to limit distractions and keep you focused. Take frequent breaks though; this keeps your mind alert and focused on the subject. Keep in mind you that need to study at the time of day when your mind is most alert; avoid studying for an important exam when your body is sleepy or hungry.


By following the information presented above, and by paying attention in class in the first place, you are far more likely to succeed in class, and ultimately learn all you can about the subject and topics in the class.

Resources

Kanar, C. C. (2011). The confident student. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

Knowing Your Learning Preferences Can Help You Prepare for Tests

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