10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success (2023)

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10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Feel prepared for an exam and learn strategies to keep you calm during a test with these test-taking tips to help you perform at your best.

10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success (1)

Taking tests or exams may be required at many stages of life. You have to take tests in school and college, to get jobs, get into graduate programs, earn certifications, be able to drive, and for countless other reasons. Everyone reacts to the pressures of an upcoming test differently, but it's normal to feel a bit nervous or anxious. Whether you experience test anxiety or not, everyone can benefit from some strategic test-taking tips to maximize success.

With that in mind, we've put together some helpful tips for the days leading up to the big test, as well as the day of the test. We also have tips for taking different types of tests and a little bit of an explanation about why people get test anxiety.

Test-taking tips: Test preparation

Preparing for a test can begin days, weeks, and even months in advance. When you know you have a test ahead, prepare yourself mentally and physically well in advance. Here are some tips to help get you through the days leading up to your test.

1. Take detailed notes.

Whether you're in a classroom, taking a class online, or simply studying a book or other materials, you may retain more knowledge by taking detailed notes. Note taking helps focus your attention on what you're reading or hearing. Taking notes helps you engage with your material, and it gives you something else to reference when you study later. If your notes are detailed enough, you can read over them to study. You can also use them to make flashcards and other study aids.

2. Find a comfortable place to study.

Where you study can be just as important as how you study. Choose a place that's comfortable, whether that's your bedroom, a quiet table at the library, or a bench at the local park. Make sure the area has good lighting so you aren't straining your eyes, and ensure it's quiet and free from distractions. Consider turning off your phone and any other electronic devices.

Read more: 11 Good Study Habits to Develop

3. Study early and often.

Don’t try to cram all of your material into your brain the night before the big test. Cramming can cause stress and anxiety. Instead, it's best to study a little bit each day. For example, if you know the test is in two weeks, divide the material into 10 to 14 parts and spend a set amount of time each day to review one part.

4. Form a study group.

If you work well with groups, consider forming or joining a study group with others who are serious about acing the test. Try to keep the group small so that everyone has a chance to engage. Agree on a schedule and location to meet each week, and consider making someone the leader of the group to help keep everyone on track.

5. Prioritize sleep.

It's tempting to stay up late studying on the nights leading up to your test, but this can actually do more harm than good. If you've been following Tip 3, there's no need to stay up cramming. Instead, make sure you're getting enough sleep each night, especially the night before your test. By getting enough sleep, you can:

Try sticking to your normal sleep schedule; sleeping in a cool, dark room; and turning your phone off at least 30 minutes before you go to bed to ensure you get quality sleep that night.

10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success (2)

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Test-taking tips: The day of the test

For some people, test anxiety creeps in on the big day of the test. These test-taking tips are designed to help you overcome any test anxiety and perform at your best during the exam.

6. Arrive early to the test site.

Arrive at the testing site at least 10 minutes early. This gives you time to fix any issues that may arise. If there are no problems, you can sit and relax or meditate before the test begins. Arriving early may also mean getting to choose the best seat in the room. Maybe you like to sit up front so you can keep up with what's going on, or perhaps you do your best work in a quiet corner near a window. Once you find a seat, get organized and prepare yourself both mentally and physically.

If you're taking a test online, sign in at least 10 minutes early to ensure that you have what you need and that the technology is working properly.

7. Wear a watch.

In today's world of smartphones, many of us have stopped wearing watches. In some circumstances, you may not be allowed to access your phone during a test, even if it's just to check the time. Instead, wear a watch so that you can keep up with the time and pace yourself.

8. Read over the exam first.

Once you have the test in hand, take some time to look it over. You can verify how many questions there are so that you can give yourself enough time to answer them all. You'll also see the types of questions, such as essays, short answers, and multiple choice, which allows you to mentally prepare yourself. For example, if there are 30 multiple-choice questions and two essay questions at the end, you can start thinking about what you want to write while you focus on the multiple-choice questions. Take time to carefully read all instructions.

9. Review before turning in the test.

Once you're finished with the test, look it over one more time. Ensure you’ve answered those questions you may have initially skipped. Depending on how much time you have left, you may want to double-check your work. Ensure you did those math problems correctly, and check any written answers for typos or misspelled words. Finally, remember to write your name or any other important identifying information.

10. Think positively.

On the day of the test, try out positive affirmations like "I can do this" and "I am smart and capable." Even after you complete the test, don't worry. If you did well, that's great. If you don't think you did so well, consider it a learning opportunity and think about what you'll do differently next time.

What is test anxiety?

Everyone who takes a test usually has some form of nervousness, but for some people, it can be more debilitating. Test anxiety is essentially the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms you experience in the moments and days leading up to a test. In some cases, symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with your ability to take a test. Symptoms might include headaches, digestive issues, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and panic attacks. Mentally, you may feel stressed, fearful, helpless, and disappointed, and you may think negatively, or your mind may go blank.

10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success (3)

If you suffer from test anxiety, studying and preparing yourself as much as possible for the test is the best thing you can do to overcome it. Other tips include:

  • Stay healthy by getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and staying hydrated.

  • Focus on positive thoughts rather than negative ones.

  • Take time for self-care before and after your test.

  • Meditate or practice breathing exercises before and during the test.

  • Listen to calming music before the test.

  • Arrive early and come prepared with all the tools you need.

  • Realize that one test will not ruin your life—even if you don't do well, there will be more opportunities.

  • Talk to someone like a professor, counselor, parent, or trusted friend about your fears and anxiety.

Strategies for short-answer tests

Sometimes, the type of test can impact your ability to perform. These test-taking tips can help you more with tests and quizzes that ask for you to provide short answers:

  • Try to predict the questions that could be on the test based on the material.

  • Answer every question, even if you don't know the full answer; you may get credit for a partial one.

  • Start with the easier questions and go back to the harder ones; you may find context in other questions that will remind you of the answers for the harder ones.

  • Read every word of the question carefully.

  • Answer every question directly rather than making them longer than they need to be.

Strategies for multiple-choice tests

While multiple-choice tests don't require you to come up with answers on your own, that doesn't necessarily make them easier. You'll typically have around four answers to choose from, and one (or more or none) of them is correct. Here are some tips for multiple-choice tests:

  • Read each answer carefully, as two may be slightly different.

  • Before you read the answers, try to think of the answer to the question off the top of your head to add to your confidence about choosing the right one.

  • Skip questions that you don't know the answers to, and come back to them in the end.

  • Don't rely on patterns, such as assuming that because there have already been three "A" answers, there won't be any more.

  • When you're not sure, narrow the answers down to two answers that are the direct opposite of each other; in many cases, one of them may be correct.

  • Underline familiar words in the question that may help you recall answers from your notes.

Next steps

Become a better learner by practicing techniques used by experts across multiple disciplines withLearning How to Learn from Deep Teaching Solutions. Get ideas for becoming a more successful learner, including tips on how to deal with procrastination, improve your memory, prep for tests, and tap into motivation.

10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success (4)

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This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other ...

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Average time: 1 month(s)

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Test Preparation, Learning To Learn, Pomodoro Technique, Meta Learning

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

FAQs

10 Test-Taking Tips to Set You Up for Success? ›

Using this test, the patient develops a ratio between normal light moving touch and diminished moving touch. Subsequent determinations can detect serial changes. The ratios obtained can be compared with a standard scale of sensibility with a high degree of validity and reliability.

What are 10 test taking tips? ›

Multiple/Choice Test Tips
  • Answer all questions in order. ...
  • Read questions carefully. ...
  • Words like always, never, completely, and only are absolutes. ...
  • Watch for words like not, least, and except. ...
  • Anticipate the answer. ...
  • Eliminate answers. ...
  • Go with your first choice. ...
  • Don't look for answers to fall in a pattern.

What are some tips for successful testing? ›

Seven Best Test-Taking Tips for Success
  1. Listen to the Instructions. ...
  2. Read the Entire Test. ...
  3. Do a “Brain Dump” ...
  4. Answer the Questions You Know First. ...
  5. Answer the Questions You Skipped. ...
  6. Be Sure the Test is Complete. ...
  7. Check Your Work.
Sep 29, 2022

What are 4 test taking strategies? ›

Here are some different strategies that may help you perform well on an exam:
  • Study exam materials. ...
  • Consider taking a practice test. ...
  • Rest the night before the exam. ...
  • Arrive early. ...
  • Read questions several times before selecting an answer. ...
  • Check your exam before submitting it.
Feb 3, 2023

How to get 100 on every test? ›

Follow these study tips to make your best grade!
  1. Get informed. Don't walk into your test unprepared for what you will face. ...
  2. Think like your teacher. ...
  3. Make your own study aids. ...
  4. Practice for the inevitable. ...
  5. Study every day. ...
  6. Cut out the distractions. ...
  7. Divide big concepts from smaller details. ...
  8. Don't neglect the “easy” stuff.

What is the 10 test? ›

Using this test, the patient develops a ratio between normal light moving touch and diminished moving touch. Subsequent determinations can detect serial changes. The ratios obtained can be compared with a standard scale of sensibility with a high degree of validity and reliability.

What are the 7 study skills? ›

Active listening, reading comprehension, note taking, stress management, time management, testing taking, and memorization are only a few of the topics addressed in our study skills guides for students.

What are the 3 tests of a winning strategy explain? ›

Three tests can be applied to determine whether a strategy has the potential to be a winning strategy: The Fit Test. The Competitive Advantage Test. The Performance Test.

How do you answer test questions correctly? ›

How to ace multiple choice tests
  1. Read very carefully. Take the time to carefully read each question and answer choice. ...
  2. Come up with your own answer. ...
  3. Look for common types of wrong answers. ...
  4. Eliminate answers in two rounds. ...
  5. Do not obsess over your choices. ...
  6. Manage your time. ...
  7. Answer every question.
Nov 15, 2022

How do you mentally prepare for a test? ›

Before the Exam
  1. Get a Good Night's Sleep. The importance of sleeping well goes without saying. ...
  2. Eat a Protein-rich Breakfast. On the day of your exam, eat breakfast, but not just any breakfast. ...
  3. Get Moving. Try to get some exercise outside, if possible. ...
  4. Mellow Out. ...
  5. Stretch. ...
  6. Breathe! ...
  7. Fidget. ...
  8. Remember Your Posture.
Jul 13, 2018

How do you get an A+ in every class? ›

The 21 Secrets of A+ Students
  1. Know your learning style. ...
  2. Color code your notes. ...
  3. Start assignments immediately. ...
  4. Follow the instructions. ...
  5. Break tasks down into manageable chunks. ...
  6. Use technology to help you focus. ...
  7. Find an environment with few distractions. ...
  8. Study smart not hard.
May 24, 2023

How do you ace a test the night before? ›

Tips You Should Do the Night Before the Exam
  1. Eat a healthy meal: ...
  2. Set an alarm (or two): ...
  3. Don't drink too much water: ...
  4. Get enough sleep: ...
  5. Review study notes: ...
  6. Don't study too late: ...
  7. Work out: ...
  8. Prepare for the morning:

What is the 10 5 test? ›

The 10/5 repeated jumps test (RJT) was first introduced by Harper, Hobbs and Moore [1] as an alternative method for evaluating reactive strength index (RSI) in athletes. This test requires the subject to execute 10 maximal vertical rebound jumps, whilst attempting to maintain a ground contact time (GCT) of <250 ms.

What is 10 10 sensation test? ›

"Ten Test" (TT) is a bedside measure of discriminative sensation, whereby the magnitude of abnormal sensation to moving light touch is normalized to an area of normal sensation on an 11-point Likert scale (0-10).

What is a 10 2 test? ›

Use of a central 10 degrees field and size V stimulus to evaluate and monitor small central islands of vision in end stage glaucoma.

What are the 10 good study habits? ›

  • Find a good place to study. Finding a good location to study is one of the most important elements of studying well. ...
  • Minimize distractions. ...
  • Take breaks. ...
  • Space out your studying. ...
  • Set study goals for each session. ...
  • Reward yourself. ...
  • Study with a group. ...
  • Take practice tests.
Jun 15, 2023

What are the 5 successful study habits? ›

Five good study habits
  • Make a schedule. Number one on any list of study habits has to be making a schedule. ...
  • Create your environment. This one is so important while we're on lockdown. ...
  • Study in bursts. Treat your brain like a muscle. ...
  • Find a study group.
Apr 6, 2020

What are the top 10 study skills? ›

  • Top 10 Study Skills.
  • Time Management.
  • Reading Strategies.
  • Note Taking.
  • Memory.
  • Learning Styles.
  • Goals and Goal Setting.
  • Dealing with Test Anxiety.

What is a good test plan? ›

A good test plan clearly defines the testing scope and its boundaries. You can use requirements specifications document to identify what is included in the scope and what is excluded. Make a list of 'Features to be tested' and 'Features not to be tested'. This will make your test plan specific and useful.

What should go in a test plan? ›

The test plan conveys how the test will be performed. This includes defining test objectives, test approach, test tools, test environment, test schedules and team responsibilities and composition.

What are 3 strategies for success? ›

7 Strategies for Success
  • Get to know yourself as a thinker and learner. ...
  • Set a personal goal for each course. ...
  • Manage your time and your attention. ...
  • Think like a professor. ...
  • Review your notes as soon as possible after class.

What are the 3 strategic questions? ›

He taught that the three most important strategic questions each company must answer are:
  • What is our business? (Mission)
  • What will our business be? (The changing environment that we are certain about)
  • What should our business be? (Vision)
Apr 11, 2017

What are the two major types of testing strategies? ›

There are two methods used in executing test cases: manual and automated. Depending on the nature of the testing, it is usually the case that a combination of manual and automated testing is the best testing method.

What is the most common answer on a test? ›

In true-false tests, true (T) answers are more common than false (F): according to Poundstone's analysis, on an average, 56% answers are T and 44% F. It's not hard to see why.

What is a best answer test? ›

A single question is posed with typically five alternate answers, from which the candidate must choose the best answer. This method avoids the problems of past examinations of a similar form described as Single Correct Answer.

What test questions should you answer first? ›

Answer the easy questions first, then the harder ones. Don't get nervous if some questions look unfamiliar. Skip them and return to them later.

How can I get my brain to work before a test? ›

Here are a few tips to help:
  1. Find a revision spot. Finding a place to revise is so important for prolonging concentration. ...
  2. Get a good night's sleep. Making sure you are well rested is extremely important during exams. ...
  3. Learn to turn a blind eye. ...
  4. Remove distractions. ...
  5. Make a plan. ...
  6. Allow downtime. ...
  7. Keep your blood flowing.

How can I think faster on a test? ›

Here are some of the best ways to make thinking not just faster, but also more efficient and accurate as well.
  1. Make Minor, Unimportant Decisions Fast. ...
  2. Practice Doing Things You Are Good At, Faster. ...
  3. Stop Trying to Multitask. ...
  4. Get Plenty of Sleep. ...
  5. Stay Cool. ...
  6. Meditate. ...
  7. Play a Musical Instrument. ...
  8. Give Your Brain a Mental Workout.
Jul 10, 2020

What do straight A's mean? ›

A is the highest possible achievement; F is a failing grade. Someone who receives straight A's has earned only grades that are of the highest caliber in all his subjects. The expression straight A's came into use in the 1920s in the United States.

Is an A+ a 100%? ›

Common examples of grade conversion are: A+ (97–100), A (93–96), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (65–66), D- (below 65).

How do I get all A's in school? ›

How to Be a Straight-A Student
  1. Organize Your Class Materials. ...
  2. Never Miss a Class. ...
  3. Sit at the Front. ...
  4. Participate. ...
  5. Review Notes Immediately After Class. ...
  6. Set Up a Distraction-Free Study Area. ...
  7. Form a Study Group. ...
  8. Avoid Cramming for Exams.
Sep 10, 2021

What is the best time to sleep before a test? ›

You need a minimum of three hours and the best times to sleep are between 2AM and 6AM. Your body heat is lowest from 3-4AM, so you are drowsiest then and your memory retention is extremely poor. Sleep helps the mind absorb and retain the information you reviewed while studying.

Is it better to take a test in the morning or at night? ›

T he best way to increase your chances of success in a job interview, exam, or driving test is to take it in the morning, scientists have found. Danish researchers found that "cognitive function" - or the ability to perform tests involving simple brain power - diminished throughout the day.

Should I sleep before a test? ›

Good sleep can pay off even the night before an exam. Some studies have found that getting a full night's sleep before taking an exam is correlated with better grades and higher overall GPA.

What is a test tip to remember on test day? ›

Avoid staying up late the night before an exam, even if you're at home and doing something relaxing like watching a movie. The day of the exam, eat a healthy meal, avoid excessive caffeine, and stay hydrated. Use the restroom before arriving for the exam, and bring a bottle of water, if permitted.

How to study 10 minutes before a test? ›

Here's how to make the most of your cram session and study for your test in an hour or less.
  1. Find a Quiet Study Space.
  2. Review Your Study Guide.
  3. Crack Open the Textbook.
  4. Review Notes, Quizzes and Assignments.
  5. Quiz Yourself.
  6. Write Down Your Mnemonic Devices.
  7. Ask the Teacher for Help.
Sep 11, 2018

Why is test taking tips important? ›

Purposes of Test Taking Strategies

The primary purpose of test-taking strategies is to improve student performance on exams. A second, but related, purpose is to reduce exam anxiety. If both of these goals are achieved, higher test scores should result.

How to do good on a test last minute? ›

7 last minute study tips that actually work
  1. How to study last minute.
  2. #1 Manage your workflow. ...
  3. #2 Optimize your study area (and cut out distractions) ...
  4. #3 Focus on your weak spots. ...
  5. #4 Explain your answers to others. ...
  6. #5 (Try to) Be healthy. ...
  7. #6 Plan, plan, plan. ...
  8. #7 Take a break.
Dec 29, 2022

What is the fastest way to memorize test answers? ›

Simple memory tips and tricks
  • Try to understand the information first. Information that is organized and makes sense to you is easier to memorize. ...
  • Link it. ...
  • Sleep on it. ...
  • Self-test. ...
  • Use distributed practice. ...
  • Write it out. ...
  • Create meaningful groups. ...
  • Use mnemonics.

What is the 2 3 5 7 revision method? ›

Revise a topic, then revisit it the next day, after three days, and after seven days. This is thought to be the perfect amount of time to help your brain remember information.

What is the best time of day to take an exam? ›

New research says that you'll get the best results if you do an exam in the morning as opposed to later on in the day. Spotted on The Mirror, researchers working for the academic journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or PNAS, found that 'cognitive power' lessens as the day progresses.

What is the fastest way to study for a test? ›

Exam preparation: Ten study tips
  1. Give yourself enough time to study. via GIPHY. ...
  2. Organize your study space. via GIPHY. ...
  3. Use flow charts and diagrams. via GIPHY. ...
  4. Practice on old exams. via GIPHY. ...
  5. Explain your answers to others. via GIPHY. ...
  6. Organize study groups with friends. via GIPHY. ...
  7. Take regular breaks. via GIPHY. ...
  8. Snack on brain food.

What helps test anxiety? ›

Here are some strategies that may help reduce your test anxiety:
  1. Learn how to study efficiently. ...
  2. Study early and in similar places. ...
  3. Establish a consistent pretest routine. ...
  4. Talk to your teacher. ...
  5. Learn relaxation techniques. ...
  6. Don't forget to eat and drink. ...
  7. Get some exercise. ...
  8. Get plenty of sleep.

What are the benefits of study tips? ›

Good study skills can increase your confidence, competence, and self-esteem. They can also reduce anxiety about tests and deadlines. By developing effective study skills, you may be able to cut down on the numbers of hours spend studying, leaving more time for other things in your life.

Should I guess B or C? ›

Most people (and tutors) tell students that, if they have no idea on a question, to just guess answer choice “C” — the middle answer on most multiple choice tests.

Why is C always the answer? ›

The idea that C is the best answer to choose when guess-answering a question on a multiple choice test rests on the premise that ACT answer choices are not truly randomized. In other words, the implication is that answer choice C is correct more often than any other answer choice.

Is C usually the correct answer? ›

Myth 2: C is the best guess letter and is right more often than any other letter. C or H are right (and wrong) as often as any other answer choice. The only guess letter you don't want to use when you are completely guessing is E or K because they only show up on the math test.

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