Test Preparation & Test Taking Skills

As much as most people dislike it, you will take many, many tests while in school. What starts as maybe a simple spelling test in first grade, ends up turning into more complicated tests in high school or college. Tests may consist of true or false questions, multiple choice questions, essays, or it could be an exam using a combination of different questions. Even after school some employers may require certain testing before you’re actually hired. No matter the reason a test is being taken, it is imperative for a person to have great skills for test taking. There are several techniques that can be used before, during, and after a test to make sure the test score reflects your true knowledge of the subject or subjects you’re being tested on.

Being good at taking tests is not something that comes naturally to everyone. There are several different learning style categories in which people fall into: visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary. Most people will relate to one more than another but often learn best through a combination of the different styles. For instance, a visual learner learns best through images; a logical learner prefers learning using systems, reasoning, and logic. However, this does not mean that the visual learner does not also learn well by using logic and reasoning. At the same time, it does not mean that the visual learner will do as well on a logic and reasoning test as they would on a test that used images. Another challenge many people face when taking a test is test anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 18 percent of United States adults suffer from anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health’s ADAA report also states that 75 percent of people with anxiety will more than likely experience symptoms before they turn 22 years-old. It is also true that most people get anxious before a test, regardless if they suffer from any anxiety disorder or not. The issue lies within whether or not a little test anxiety ends up causing a big problem. The good news is that there are ways a person can reduce their anxiety before taking a test and learn to develop better test-taking skills in general for an improved test score.

The first step in developing better test-taking skills is to analyze your individual situation to decide exactly which areas need to be improved upon. In general, you should work to improve your study strategies and habits, learn to manage your time and organize your notes better, and look over your past tests and use those to learn where improvements may be needed. Be confident and prepared when you get ready to take the test. Exercise is good for you in more ways than one and it not only keeps your body healthy but your mind as well. The night before your test, go to bed a little earlier so that you’re well-rested and upon waking in the morning, be sure to eat a healthy breakfast. Never go in for a test on an empty stomach as a growling tummy will cause you to lose your train of thought. Be sure to real all the test questions very carefully and do not panic if you don’t know the answer right away. Do the easier questions first and come back to the harder ones later. These are just some basic test-taking tips but the following list of resources will provide more in-depth information on test preparation, test taking, and test anxiety:

Test Preparation

Test Taking Skills
Test Anxiety
By Scott Shrum