How to Efficiently Prepare for a Test

No one enjoys taking tests, but some people do better on tests than others. If taking tests is an issue for you, there are things that can help you do better.

Doing well on tests requires basic preparation steps which you can and should do every time. Plan ahead and take the time to do the preparation, then relax and take the test knowing you are well-prepared. Preparing for a test requires three simple steps.

First, you must take time to understand what topics the test is likely to cover. Jot them down. Exams are generally previewed by the instructor. If there is not a clear explanation, ask for clarification. What will you need to know in order to do well on this exam? Listen carefully, and think through the material that has been covered during period being tested.

The second step is to systematically review the targeted material. Make a list of the things you need to practice or review, and then concentrate on studying areas where you feel you may be most vulnerable. Make sure to start early enough so you can plan at least a couple of study sessions and get some rest between them. Focus for an hour or two, and then take a break to get some exercise or take a nap before returning to your review.

The third step in preparation for any exam is to stop cramming in time to get a good night of sleep, eat a good meal and get to class on time. Once seated, close your eyes and try to empty your mind of all distractions and fears. Focus on breathing deeply and slowly to help give your brain a boost.

When the test is before you, do not entertain any thoughts of failure; don’t daydream about what you are going to do to celebrate after the test and don’t spend too much time on items you do not know. If you can’t answer right away, go on to the items you do know, and come back to that item later. When you have completed the exam, review it briefly but only make changes if you are sure that your second answer is right – otherwise stick with your first choice.

If there are items you really do not know, see if you can rule out some of the choices, then make your best guess rather than leave the item blank. If there are essay items, make a brief outline or list in your head before you start to ramble. Make all the most important points rather than focusing on just one or two points in depth. Calculate the time you can spend on each essay question and try to stick to your schedule.

When you are done, make sure you haven’t missed any pages or parts, then hand it in and forget it. Get on with your life. You have done all you can, and the grades will be facing you soon enough! Take a deep breath…and get ready for the next exam.