7 October 2008 10:48 AM

Test Tips for Students

by Dr. Rick

Students spend an awful lot of time today taking tests. Most are teacher-made, but there are plenty of standardized tests, too, some of which even determine whether a student moves on to the next grade, graduates, or gets into the college of his choice. It’s easy to become anxious about these tests, but it’s just as easy to eliminate much of the anxiety if you take a few simple steps.

Before the test

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. This is by far the most important behavior that affects your test-taking, the one over which you have the most control.  It never ceases to amaze me how many students ignore it anyway. Cramming doesn’t work. Never has. Never will. 
  2. Keep up with your studies. This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip. Go to class, take good notes, ask questions when you need something clarified, participate, and do the assignments. Have a “study buddy” you can study with, who can help you when you need help (and whom you can help, too). The two of you will help keep each other on track.
  3. If you’re falling behind, get help right away. The longer you wait, the more behind you’re going to fall. If your study buddy can’t help, ask your teacher for some extra time, get a tutor, see if an honor society member can help. Just get the help you need.
  4. Review your test results from the past. Forewarned is forearmed. How did you do on other tests from this teacher? What kinds of tests does she give? How does she grade? If it’s a standardized test you’re preparing for, become familiar with its format so you’ll know what to expect. Take a test-prep course if you have time and you think it’ll help.
  5. Study with others. Studying can be difficult enough, so if you’re able to study with friends and classmates who are equally motivated you’ll be doing yourself and the others a favor. Keep each other on schedule, stay with it. Quiz each other, share your knowledge, be a team. You’ll all win. Afterwards, congratulate each other and celebrate.
  6. If possible, know what to expect. The best teachers know that tests are not supposed to trick you but to see what you’ve learned. They’ll let you know ahead of time what kind of test they’re going to be giving. Essay? Multiple choice? True or false? Oral? Hybrid? Prepare accordingly. It can’t hurt to request a class preparation period, where students and teacher prepare together.
  7. Parents, relax. When you’re anxious, your child will pick up on that anxiety.  That’s the last thing he needs. Motivation is good. Anxiety isn’t.

Later this week, I’ll cover test tips to remember during and after the test…




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