Skip to main content
6.1: Lesson 6.1: Pre- Mid- and Post-Test-Taking Strategies
- Last updated
Save as PDF
- The night before.
- The week prior.
- The first day of classes.
- Scan the test, first, to get the big picture of how many test items there are, what types there are (multiple choice, matching, essay, etc.), and the point values of each item or group of items.
- Determine which way you want to approach the test:
- Some students start with the easy questions first, that is, the ones they immediately know the answers to, saving the difficult ones for later, knowing they can spend the remaining time on them.
- Some students begin with the biggest-point items first, to make sure they get the most points.
- Determine a schedule that takes into consideration how long you have to test, and the types of questions on the test. Essay questions, for example, will require more time than multiple choice, or matching questions.
- Keep your eye on the clock.
- If you can mark on the test, put a check mark next to items you are not sure of just yet.
- It is easy to go back and find them to answer later on.
- You might just find some help in some other test items covering similar information.
- Sit where you are most comfortable. That said, sitting near the front has a couple of advantages:
- You may be less distracted by other students.
- If a classmate comes up with a question for the instructor and there is an important clarification given, you will be better able to hear it and apply it, if needed.
- Wear ear plugs, if noise distracts you.
- You do NOT have to start with #1! It you are unsure of it, mark it to come back to later on.
- Bring water…this helps calm the nerves, for one, and water is also needed for optimum brain function.
- If permitted, get up and stretch (or stretch in your chair) from time to time to relieve tension and assist the blood to the brain!
- Remember to employ strategies to reduce test-taking anxiety (covered in the next lesson)
- If despite all of your best efforts to prepare for a test you just cannot remember the answer to a given item for multiple choice, matching, and/or true/false questions, employ one or more of the following educated guessing (also known as “educated selection”) techniques. By using these techniques, you have a better chance of selecting the correct answer.
- It is usually best to avoid selecting an extreme or all-inclusive answer (also known as 100% modifiers) such as “always,” and “never”. Choose, instead, words such as “usually,” “sometimes,” etc. (also known as in-between modifiers).
- Although there is some dispute about this, it is still safe to say that choosing “C” is often correct.
- If the answers are numbers, choose one of the middle numbers.
- If you have options such as “all of the above,” or “both A and B,” make sure each item is true before selecting those options.
- Choose the longest, or most inclusive, answer.
- Make sure to match the grammar of question and answer. For example, if the question indicates a plural answer, look for the plural answer.
- Regarding matching tests: count both sides to be matched. If there are more questions than answers, ask if you can use an answer more than once.
- Pay close attention to items that ask you to choose the “best” answer. This means one answer is better or more inclusive than a similar answer.
- Read all of the response options.
- If you don’t understand why you did not get an item right, ask the instructor. This is especially useful for quizzes that contain information that may be incorporated into more inclusive exams such as mid-terms and finals.
- Analyze your results to help you in the future; for example,
- See if most of your incorrect answers were small things such as failing to include the last step in a math item, or neglecting to double-check for simple errors in a short-answer or essay item.
- See where in the test you made the most errors: beginning, middle, or end. This will help you pay closer attention to those sections in the future.