Study & Test Taking Strategies
Before Taking the Test
Find a quiet comfortable place to study - somewhere away from distractions (TV's, cell phones, brother and sisters who want to talk and play) when studying. Try to avoid your bed because you may be tempted to take a nap or fall asleep. Take a few small breaks here and there to allow your brain to process the information reviewed. Grab a snack/drink, use the bathroom, get up and stretch and then get back to studying!
Can't find a quiet place at home? Try the Chester Library.
Although cramming may work for some, it is best to review for your test a little bit at a time the days or weeks leading up to a test.
If you are feeling anxious, work off your restless energy by getting some exercise or going for a walk.
Some students find it helpful to listen to soothing music while they study to help them relax. If this is something you can do and study at the same time - great! Otherwise listening to soothing music may be more helpful in lulling you to sleep if are worried about a test or are feeling restless during bedtime.
Try not to study any later than your usual bedtime. You will be tired and most likely sleepy. If you are a morning person, work on getting up a little bit earlier and get some studying done.
Meditate! This simply means find a quiet place to sit, focus on your breath while you take deep (belly) breaths in through your nose, hold each breath for 5 seconds, than exhale also through your nose. As thoughts come into your mind, see them, acknowledge them and then let them go as you continue breathing. Simply engaging in this exercise for even just one minute has its benefits and calming affects.
Visualize! This can be done while deep breathing as well. To visualize your success puts you one step closer towards achieving your goal. As you visualize, imagine yourself being completely prepared for your test. Imagine sitting in your chair feeling relaxed and prepared. Imagine working successfully through the test and knowing the answers. Imagine how good it feels to get your test back with a great score.
Get a good night's sleep.
Eat a good breakfast on test day (and every day).
When Taking the Test
Bring everything you will need to class for the test - pens, sharpened pencils, calculator, highlighter, scrap paper.
Be sure to use the bathroom before sitting for the test.
When you receive the test, glance over it to see what types of questions are on the test (multiple choice, essay). This will help you to pace yourself.
If possible, use scrap paper or the back of the test to create a "cheat sheet." In other words, jot down all of the things you know or want to get out of your head with regards to the test (math formulas, names, dates) so that you can clear your mind and focus on the questions. Refer back to your "cheat sheet" as needed during the test.
Be sure to read the directions - even if you think you know what is being asked. Read the directions carefully. If you are unclear on a direction, ask the teacher to clarify.
If you come upon a question that you do not know the answer to, skip it - move on! No need to perseverate and make yourself more anxious. Simply make a mark near the question or circle the number so that you can come back to it later. As you go through the test, you may find a question or answer that will jog your memory about what you know.
If during the test you happen to remember or think of something you feel is important to know while taking the test, make a note of it on your "cheat sheet."
Spend more time on the questions with more points.
Some people find it easier to go through the test quickly and answer the easy questions first. Others like to answer the harder questions first.
Cross out any answers you know are not correct.
Tell and repeat to yourself that is only a test and that you do not have to be perfect. Just give it your best.
If you have been seated for a long period of time, stretch in your chair.
Take a few deep breaths.
Avoid being distracted by others. If someone or something is distracting you, let your teacher know.
If you have time, review your test before handing it in. Be sure you have gone back and attempted any marked questions that you skipped over.
Navigating Questions on the Test
I. Multiple choice
- Be sure to read each question thoroughly.
- Try to think of the answer before looking at the choices.
- Check all choices. At times you may think you have found the answer, but sometimes there may be a better choice.
- Use the process of elimination to reduce the number of choices.
- Look at the words. Usually (although not always) words like always, never, every, all are false.
- Statements like usually, often, most and many are true.
III. Essay Questions
- Read each one.
- Start with the easiest or the one with the most points.
- Write down words, ideas, names or any information on the side that you want to use in the essay.
- Write down what you know - even if it is for partial credit.