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Test Taking Tips

by Kristina Howell, Copy Editor

Photo by: Summer Grogan

During our high school years, many of us have struggled with difficult tests.  Luckily, with the following strategies, there are several ways to help boost testing performance.

For example, write down what you know first. If you had to remember formulas or something tricky that you don’t know for sure will stick, write it out on the top of your test. That way, if you just studied it and are still a little shaky, it will be there and you don’t have to stress about it later on in the exam.

Do what you know first. If you can tackle the problems that you’re confident on before getting to the ones you’re not, it will greatly boost your confidence, which could potentially help your performance on the problems that you don’t think you know.

Ignore who finishes before you. Often times, it can be easy to panic when you see that other people are finishing and then you rush through the rest of your test because you feel like you’re behind. Know that people work at different speeds, and if you don’t relax, you could potentially blank on everything and compromise your grade.

Take a break. If you need a couple of seconds to clear your head, don’t be afraid to close your eyes and take a deep breath. Pushing yourself will only cause you more anxiety.

Try to make subjects relatable beforehand by creating memory aids like mnemonic devices. If you can make a formula or a definition into something you understand or something that makes you laugh, you’re far more likely to remember it when it counts.

Exercise beforehand. If your test is the first thing in the morning, it never hurts to wake yourself up with a quick walk around the block. Don’t work yourself to the point of exhaustion, but get yourself going enough to wake up your mind.

Eat. There have been studies showing that people who have breakfast and eat healthily before an exam are more likely to stay focused on it and do well. If it’s a long test, though, opt for candy. Sugar in the middle of a test on the longer side boosts your energy enough for you to get through it.

There’s been a study that reportedly proved darting your eyes left and right several times when you first get the test will help your brain warm up to thinking critically by facilitating some interaction between its left and right hemispheres.

If it’s multiple choice, make sure that you always read the whole question and know exactly what you’re supposed to do. Often times, people just assume that they know, and this is a major cause for silly mistakes. It can help to underline or circle important words.

Be confident on your own! A lot of times, even in advanced classes, students know the answer, but they panic because they don’t think they know as much as they do. Take a deep breath and focus on the aspects of the problem that you do know for sure. More often than not, this will help you figure the rest of it out. Of course, confidence isn’t a substitute for proper studying because it could cause you to overestimate your mastery of the subject, but it will get you a part of the way there. The second you stop believing in your ability is the second you cease to have it.