Test-Taking Strategies

Yellow right arrow link header. You've studied hard. What's next?

Nothing takes the place of studying, but even if you have studied, there are test taking strategies you can employ that will make you more successful.

  • If it isn't announced in class, talk with your professor to find out what types of questions (true/false, multiple choice, essay) will be used. Also, sample exams may be available on reserve in the library.
  • Anticipate questions that will be asked on the exam and plan answers to these questions.
  • Go into the exam as rested as possible. The brain is part of the body and if you are tired, so is your brain.
  • Always wear a watch. Begin by looking over the entire test to see how long it is and what type of questions are being asked. Then plan how long you can spend on each section or question. This will keep you from running out of time at the end.
  • Read all instructions carefully.
  • On multiple choice questions read the question being asked and all of the possible answers before selecting one.
  • On true/false questions make sure to read the entire question. The entire answer must be true for the correct answer to be "true".
  • On both multiple choice and true/false tests, answers containing absolutes such as "never", "always", "none", and "every" are usually incorrect.
  • Essay questions often have a high point value so read the question carefully, make a brief outline, and then answer the question including all of the information you can from the text and lecture.
  • If possible, check over your test before turning it in. Errors sometimes occur when you are in a hurry.
  • Finally, after taking the test think about your performance. Did you have more trouble with questions from the text or from the lectures? Did you miss questions because you hadn't studied enough or because you didn't understand the concepts presented? And most important, what can you do differently to prepare for the next test to improve your grade?

Yellow right arrow link header.Test-Taking Strategies handout (click to view + download)

Test-Taking Strategies handout download link.