What to Do Before the Test:
Create Your Own Review Tools:
- Daily Reviews - Include the short pre- and post-class reviews of lecture notes. This is the most effective tool for moving information from short-term to long-term memory.
- Weekly Reviews - About an hour per subject. More structured than daily review.
- Major Review - Usually conducted the week before major exams or finals. They integrate concepts and deepen the understanding of material presented throughout the term. These are longer review periods -- three to five hours.
- Suffering from test anxiety? Tips to help you succeed!
Plan a Strategy:
- Study Checklists - Not a review sheet, but a 'to-do' list. List reading assignments, types of problems you will need to solve, skills you must master, major ideas, theories, formulas, etc.
- Flash Cards - Begin the first day of class. Questions on one side of 3x5 card, answers on the other. Use formulas, definitions, theories, axioms, dates, foreign phrases, sample problems. Create new cards as semester progresses.
On the Test Day:
- Do a Dry Run - Write up your own exam and take it several times before the actual test.
- Ask the Instructor What to Expect - What topics will be emphasized? What kinds of questions will it contain?
- Get Copies of Old Exams, If Policy Allows - Be careful not to rely totally on old exams -- you may gloss over important material.
What to Do During the Test in General:
- Arrive early.
- Pay attention to verbal directions.
- Scan the whole test immediately.
- Notice the point values for each section and estimate how much time you will need for each.
- Read the directions slowly.
- Jot down memory aids, formulas, equations, facts, or other material you will need and might forget. Do this in the margins. If you use a separate sheet, it might appear as though you're cheating.
- Answer the easiest, shortest questions first.
- Next, answer multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions.
- Proceed to short-answer and essay questions.
- Pace yourself.
- Leave plenty of space between answers.
- Look for answers in other test questions.
- In quick-answer questions (true/false, multiple choice), your first instinct is usually best.
- Answer each question in your head before you look at the possible answers.
- Be sure to read all the choices before you select one.
- If you have no clue, guess.
Short-Answer and Fill-in-the-Blank Questions:
- Answer true/False questions quickly.
- Read Carefully.
- Look for qualifiers, like "all," "most," "sometimes," "never," or "rarely."
- Concentrate on key words and facts.
- Be brief.
- Before you write, make a quick outline.
- Get to the point.
- Start out with most solid points.
- Write legibly.
- Be brief.
- Use a pen when possible.
- Write on one side of a page only.
Note: Taken from "Becoming a Master Student," by Dave Ellis, 8th Edition.