If you’ve ever taken a test that you weren’t quite prepared for, you already know how big of a mistake it was. But, perhaps just how large of an error may have depended on how much of your grade depended on that test.
But, no matter if it was only a few points or a large percentage of your grade, you definitely didn’t feel so good after the exam. That’s where you might have started wondering, ‘what are some test-taking strategies to help?’ Well, there are plenty of things that you could be doing to improve your chances of doing well on a test.
The truth is that it’s not just about studying for a test and knowing the material. It’s also about knowing some test-taking tips for students that will make it easier for you to actually go through the process of the test, no matter the subject matter.
Why is it Important to Use Test-taking Strategies?
Now, you know all about the importance of studying for each individual test you have to take, but how does a test-taking strategies checklist help you? Why are test-taking checklists even a ‘thing’ at all?
It’s about knowing how to go through the testing process, which can be difficult for any student. That’s because the testing process can be stressful, and it can definitely cause you to forget many things you thought you knew pretty well. That’s why you need to have strategies in place.
Strategies help you to create a plan that will prepare you well for any type of test. They help you know what to expect from the test and yourself when you sit down on test day. And that allows you to perform better and more comfortably when you’re taking that test.
Having strategies that you know how to use and that you can execute without even thinking about it will allow you to get a better grade on your test, which will help you with all of your schooling and make you more comfortable and confident. But you need to know the right strategies to set up.
How to Create a Test-Taking Strategies Checklist?
Once you know that you need a test-taking strategy, you may wonder just how you’re going to do it. Well, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. That’s because there are plenty of test-taking skills worksheets and checklists already out there. And we’re going to help you create one too.
- Start with the basics – You want to start creating your checklist by starting with the easy things, like making sure that you study and making sure you know what’s going to be on the test.
- Keep it simple – You don’t want your list to be too long because that’s going to make it difficult for you to remember and follow each time you’re getting ready to take a test. Remember, the most important thing is that you can actually execute your checklist.
- Learn what works for you – You’ve likely already taken a number of tests on different subjects. So, you know what works for you in the test environment, and you know what doesn’t. You also know what kind of struggles you typically have.
- Look for solutions to your struggles – Just having a good checklist will not help if it doesn’t actually address the problems you’re experiencing. So, make sure that you focus on the areas that are difficult for you and then come up with quality solutions to those things.
How Do You Develop a Test-Taking Routine?
Even after you’ve created a test-taking strategy, you need to be able to turn it into a routine. And that’s going to take some time and effort. You’ll need to practice, and you’ll definitely need to know your checklist inside and out.
Practice by setting up a few short tests for yourself, and then run through your test-taking checklist before you start. The more you practice using that set of strategies, the more routine it’s going to be. Before you know it, every time you sit down to take a test, you’ll be running through that checklist without even thinking about it.
Of course, setting up the strategies themselves involves the steps we already discussed above. It starts with understanding the material and then goes to making sure that you’re addressing the specific areas that are difficult for you, rather than just looking for generic options.
Test Taking Tips for Students
Let’s take a closer look at some essential test-taking tips that you may want to look at for yourself. For example, if you’re looking for test-taking strategies, multiple choice or essay, or any type of question.
You want to make sure that you’re prepared for the different types of questions that may show up on your exam, and you definitely want to know how to get yourself psyched up for what’s going to happen. Its starts with preparation.
- Study early – The best thing that you can do is start studying for your test as early as possible. If you take the time to review from day one of your class, you’re going to be far better off than if you just try to cram the last few days before your test.
- Listen to the teacher – Chances are your teacher has been telling you all along what kind of information will be on the test. And they’ll likely give you information about what to study in the days (or even week or more) leading up to the test. This is important and helps you focus your studying in the right areas.
- Be in the best shape possible – Your best way to prepare for a test is to make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before and also that you eat well. If you’re tired or hungry, you’re not going to perform as well as if you were well-rested and full. So, make sure you sleep well the night before and that you eat a good breakfast or lunch (depending on when the test is).
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Even the day of the test is not too late to ask your teacher questions. Make sure you are as confident as possible about the material and the test process before you begin. Then, you’ll be more likely to get a good grade.
- Read the questions carefully – There is generally only one answer to any question (and this is definitely true for matching or multiple choice questions). Make sure that you read the question carefully and the answers even more carefully to make sure you don’t’ miss something that changes the entire question.
Best Test-Taking Strategies Checklist
Okay, now we’re going to talk about the best checklist you could make to help prepare yourself for test day. After all, you want to make sure that you are well prepared and walking in with a plan that’s actually going to work for you. So, what do you do?
- Get there early – The first thing you can and should do is get to the class early. This gives you a few minutes to relax and take a few breaths before the test starts. If you walk in just as the teacher is getting ready to pass out the tests, you’re likely to already feel stressed.
- Listen to the instructions – Your teacher will likely pass out the test and give you some instructions to go along with it. Make sure you’re listening. You may be tempted to immediately look at the test and start working, but you need to know the final instructions before you do.
- Look for easy questions – Skim over the test and look for anything that you know immediately. There may be a few questions (or more than a few) that you don’t even need to think about. Write the answers down or circle them or fill in the bubble for scantron sheets.
- Plan the rest of the test – Think about how much time you have to take the rest of the test and how many questions there are. You’ll also need to think about the type of questions (multiple-choice, matching, fill in the blank, short answer, essay, etc.) so you can plan out how long you have for each question.
- Outline the essays – If there are any long answer or essay questions, you need to plan out the answers that you’re going to write. Keep in mind that these are going to take more time, and then use a little scratch paper or a corner of the test to write an outline of what you want to say, then flesh it out in the provided space.
- Answer every question – There’s no reason to leave any of the questions on your test blank. You should have enough time to at least put something down for each of them, and you should be able to come up with something to say. This is especially true for multiple-choice questions. Make sure you have something down.
- Eliminate obviously wrong answers – Just like you’re going to look for easy questions, you also want to eliminate any answers that are obviously wrong. When you look at a multiple-choice question, chances are you’ll see at least one answer that you can eliminate. You’ve just improved your chances of getting the question right, even by guessing, from 25% to 33%.
- Write your thoughts – If you’re allowed to have a scrap piece of paper for the test, take a minute (or a few minutes) at the beginning of your allotted test time to jot down some notes and things that you remember or that you have a more challenging time remembering. That way, you can review back to the information if necessary.
- Take advantage of opportunities to use your notes – Some tests may give you the opportunity to use notes or even your textbook. Take advantage of that. Don’t assume that you know all of the answers and that you can just spout them out as needed. Instead, make sure that you’re using notes and your book to help you out.
Wrapping Things Up: Test Taking Strategies Checklist
Writing up your own test-taking checklist is essential, but there are a few things that you can add from a more general list. Each of the tips above is going to prove invaluable when it comes time to take your next test, no matter what other areas you struggle in.
Take advantage of every opportunity you have to get more points, and that means making sure you answer each of the questions, eliminate obviously wrong answers, and listen well to your teacher. By doing each of these things, you’ll be setting yourself up for a better result.