When you take a test,
you are demonstrating your ability
to understand course material, or perform certain tasks.
NB: If you have any doubts about the fairness of
or of the ability of tests to measure your performance,
please see your academic counseling service.
The test forms the basis of
evaluation or judgement
for your course of study.
There are many environmental
including your own attitudes and conditions,
which influence how you perform during tests.
These suggestions may help:
- Come prepared; arrive early for tests
Bring all the materials you will need such as pencils and pens, a
calculator, a dictionary, and a watch.
This will help you focus on the task at hand
- Stay relaxed and confident
Remind yourself that you are well-prepared and are going to do well.
Don't let yourself become anxious; if you feel
anxious before or during a test, take several slow, deep breaths to
Don't talk to other students before a test; anxiety is
- Be comfortable but alert
Choose a good spot to take the test.
Make sure you have enough room to work.
Maintain an upright posture in your seat
- Preview the test (if
it is not timed)
Spend 10% of your test time reading through the test carefully
Mark key terms and decide how to budget your time
As you read the questions, jot down brief notes indicating ideas you
can use later in your answers
Plan to do the easy questions first and the most difficult
- Answer the test questions in a strategic
Begin by answering the easy questions you know, then those with the
highest point value.
The last questions you answer should
- be the most difficult,
- take the greatest amount of writing, or
- have the least point value
- When taking a multiple choice test, know
when to guess
First eliminate answers you know are wrong
Always guess when there is no penalty for guessing or you can
Don't guess if you have no basis for your choice and if you
are penalized for guessing
Since your first choice is usually correct, don't change your
answers unless you are sure of the correction
- When taking essay tests, think before you
Create a brief outline for your essay by jotting down a few words to
indicate ideas you want to discuss.
Number these items in your list to indicate the order in which you
will discuss them
- When writing the essay test, get right to
State your main point in the first sentence
Use your first paragraph to provide an overview of your
Use the rest of your essay to discuss these points in more
Back up your points with specific information, examples, or
quotations from your readings and notes
- Reserve 10% of your test time for review
Review your test
Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items
Make sure you have answered all the questions.
Proofread your writing for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Check your math answers for careless mistakes (e.g. misplaced
decimals). Match your actual answers for math problems against quick
- Analyze your test results
Each test can further prepare you for the next test.
Use your tests to review when studying for final exams
- Decide on and adopt which study strategies
worked best for you
Identify those that didn't work well and replace them.
Feedback to improve
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The Study Guides and Strategies web site was created and is
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academic web site developer at the University
of St. Thomas (UST), St. Paul, Minnesota. It is collaboratively
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