Test Taking Strategies | Most Effective Ways To Crack Any Exam

When you’re in school no one teaches you how to improve your test taking strategies. To attain the GPA of your dreams you want to consider your studying strategies, but also the way that you take a test. If you want to become a lawyer or doctor there are certain qualifications that you need before you enter formal schooling. 

Whether you want to pass that AP test you’ve been thinking about test taking strategies will set you ahead of the game. You don’t need to be the best test taker, you just need to be willing to learn and try different methods to see which strategy works best for you!

Most Effective Test Taking Strategies 

When you arrive at your testing destination you can be cautious about a variety of things. You may be worried that you didn’t study hard enough or you may be so nervous that you end up choosing the wrong answers. The most effective strategies are taught but are better when they’re learned. 

As you experience different ways to test you’ll understand the most effective strategies for you. Some ways are to closely examine your test questions before jumping into the multiple-choice selection. Another is that you want to set a proper study schedule to make sure you’re certain about the material you’re testing for. 

Be prepared way before the test date 

There’s no short cut for preparation. If you feel like you haven’t studied for the material throughout the semester you may not be prepared during test day. All the test strategies in the world can’t be effective if you don’t know anything about the materials. 

Spend as many hours of the day to understand the material. This can be done through flashcards or talking about the subject with your classmates. You want to hone in your skills and have complete knowledge of the material two days before your test date. This way you don’t need to cram or procrastinate. You can follow up with your scores in a relaxed manner. 

Choose your test prep and review books carefully 

Certain test preps can not be completed overnight. Especially for best-rated MCAT prep books or a LSAT prep book if you need help with the LSAT. These materials are testing your eligibility for nearly a lifelong career commitment. For lower level degrees, read our reviews of GDE prep books. Choosing strong review books will prepare you at the beginning of the year. Learning how to be a better student will also be of great help.

Choosing your test prep carefully will give you a baseline of where to study from. This will give you the  clarification and knowledge you need. Gathering test prep is beneficial for you. Make sure you’re looking for review books that provide the key concepts of what you want to study for. 

You want to determine how much help you need. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will show how much time you’ll need to spend. This will give you a high level of accountability to choose test prep that is single session and multi-weekly. 

Use as many prep books as possible 

Tests prep books can offer you practice quizzes which will simulate a test-like experience. Tests that contain material you have to learn through long periods need to be purchased way beforehand. For instance, you can purchase the best-rated GRE prep book to help you with grad school preparations. 

Depending on the type of class or exam you want to pass, prep books can give you an overall consensus of the key concepts. When you read a book it can get confusing when there is too much terminology. Prep books help break down complicated ideas into simpler ideas. 

You want to plan before your test date. Give yourself a couple of months to truly absorb the material. Set an average page number to read every day. This way you can set a rhythm that you can get used to. 

Find out as much as you can about the test beforehand 

find out as much you can about the test

As you study for a test you want to get the most out of the information you’re reading. To absorb the material begin by getting finding what study method works best for you. Some people are visual learners or others do best when they’re working with other people. 

At the beginning of your study session, you want to take time alone to just absorb all the material. You can do this by making flashcards or writing out key concepts. When you begin to understand all the material start going over it with your classmates. 

Avoid cramming the night before 

Do you find yourself procrastinating the night before? Our team believes that this is a habit that is best to be broken early. As you go on with your studies and eventually your career punctuality will be one of the key factors of professionalism. 

You should provide a pre-deadline date for yourself so you aren’t rushing the night before. When you cram it will cause you to further be lost in your thinking and less focused. You want to try to create a steady pace to study so the night before you can feel confident and ready for your test. 

Prepare your supplies 

It’s important to prepare your supplies before you begin testing. A week before make sure you have all the proper materials to take the test. Make sure your bag is packed with ready to go to pencils, pens, and erasures. Often you might forget one or two of these items. The night before make sure you have everything you need. 

Exams that are worth a lot of points can be nerve-wracking. The last thing you want is something to be missing for your test. If you’re taking math or science tests check that your calculator is fully charged and ready to go. Keep a watch to keep track of time and your pacing throughout the test. 

Always arrive early and take a moment to relax 

arrive early and take moment to relax before test starts

A test is a big deal for a lot of people. You don’t want to add any additional stressors for your test day. Ideally, you should aim to arrive 20-30 min early on your test location. This way when you’re trying to find your seat you won’t find yourself feeling rushed. 

Take a moment to inhale and exhale. You arrived at this moment and finally, all your hard work will pay off. Think positive thoughts and try not to stress too much about the actual test results. 

Listen attentively to last minute instructions given by the instructor 

Your teacher may suggest the Best AP lang review book or the Top AP Biology prep to prepare for your exams. However, the instructor who is giving the test will have the specific concepts you’ll need to understand. Since they created the test most likely you want to pay close attention to their instructions. 

When your instructor is giving you the instructions you want to make note of everything he/ she is saying. You want to write down notes and follow up on anything that requires more clarification. This will prevent any further confusion when you’re taking your actual test. 

Survey the test before beginning 

make survey before the test begins

Before you start the test you want to glance over the entire test. After taking many practice tests or problems, you want to begin to mentally take note of the time. Managing your time is an essential part of your test taking skills. A lot of times you can often lose track of time and get a bad score.

Inspect each question and see the amounted points for each question. See if the test is offering any bonus questions and have those questions in the back of your mind. Briefly make note of questions that may seem challenging or too hard to figure out. 

Read the test directions very carefully and watch for details 

The biggest missteps are when a student skims over the directions. Our team suggest that you underline the keywords of the directions. This way you’ll have a clear understanding of what to do for your test. You want to underline most of the verbs that have clear instructions of what to do for the specific portion of the exam. 

If you’re working on a difficult problem make note of it, but do not get stuck on it. Your time is valuable, move on to another question or take your best-educated guess. You want to at least try to choose an answer because without an answer you won’t get any points. 

Plan how you will use the allotted test time  

At the beginning of your test, you want to flip the pages and pinpoint any topics that you may recognize. Testing is best when you allot your time with efficient increments. Never spend too much time on one problem because your test has many more questions that need your full attention. 

You want to break down the time by the number of problems you have. Also if the test requires a reading portion or a problem-solving a question you want to break it down into parts. When a problem seems complicated to try deconstruct it into different steps without spending too much time. 

Answer all the questions  

answer all the questions

During the test, it can seem almost impossible to answer all the questions. You might be feeling overwhelmed from the moment you open your booklet. The number one thing you want to remember is that you want to make sure that you’re going to answer all the questions. 

This may seem like an obvious form of reasoning, however amid your testing when a hard problem appears this can cause test takers to avoid their questions. You want to be sure of the questions you’re dealing with because without them you’ll have a hard time managing time for the rest of your questions. 

Maintain a positive attitude and focus  

When you find yourself approaching a challenging question do not lose hope. It can be discouraging if you feel like you got the wrong answer but keep a steady pace. Do not lose confidence and continue to think about an effective way to solve the problem. 

If you have completely no clue make an educated guess and hope for the best. Don’t depend on patterns to choose your multiple choice answers. This can be misleading and can get you choosing the wrong answers. 

Don’t get distracted during the test  

stay focused during the test

If you see other students whispering or tapping their pencil just continue to work on your test. Try to politely ask them to be quiet and focus on your paper. In the middle of nervousness, you can feel the pressure to look around but maintain a steady pace and try to upkeep your performance. 

You want to review all of your answers and try to check all your mistakes. If you see a student finish early do not feel pressured to finish faster. Take your time with the questions and finish to the best of your abilities. 

Plan to finish the test early and have time for review  

Once you’re done with the exam you don’t want to turn it in immediately. Think about the problems that you kept having to go over. You may not have time to go over your entire test but focus on the problems that you know you want to double-check.

Having time for review will help you immensely in the long run. It can be difficult for people to recognize what they need to do after their test. Using up every single bit of time is the best bet!

Review your test for mistakes 

When you receive your score back don’t dwell on the grade you got. You want to focus on the need for improvement. The mistakes that you make will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses. 

This is better because when professors make comments about your work you want to see how to factually solve the problem. This method will save you from constantly making the same mistake again. 

Attend test review sessions 

Try not to miss a review session. Even if you did great on a test there will always be a need for improvement in some areas. You want to review the material and enhance what you need to do for future tests. 

A lot of instructors will reward extra credit if they see your genuine investment. Attending these sessions will be beneficial for you. You always want to have a growth mindset for testing to maximize your testing abilities. 

Leonard Haggin

I created this site to help students like you learn from the experiences my team had learned during our extensive academic careers. I am now studying Law at Stanford, but I also make time to write articles here in order to help all you fellow students advance in your academic careers and beyond. I hope our efforts on Study Prep Lounge will arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome whatever trial or test you find in front of you.

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