Each year around “testing season”, we offer some basic- but tried and true- advice on taking tests. We post these daily on Facebook in April, but we thought we’d share them in their entirety here. Feel free to share and to offer some tips of your own.
- Don’t cram. It sounds painful and it can be counter-productive. Instead, review plenty in the days and weeks before the test. Depending on when you read this and when you test is scheduled, that may not be possible. If that’s the case, do the best you can, but remember about the cramming….
- Get plenty of sleep the night before. Get to bed in order to ensure that you get 8 hours of restful sleep prior to going into the test. It would also help to exercise the evening before to get some of the stress out of your system.
- Eat a good breakfast. This does NOT mean lots of sugar, donuts, candy bars, etc. It does mean something that is packed with protein.
- Drink plenty of water. This is really something you need to do for a few days leading up to the event. On a similar note…
- Avoid having too much caffeine. Having a few large coffees before the test is a bad idea, and not just because of having to ask for a bathroom break during the exam. Having the caffeine jitters can distract your focus and lead to a poorer performance than you normally would experience.
- Go to the bathroom before you walk in the testing room. ‘Nuff said.
- Dress in layers. Ok, not the MOST important tip, but if you are too hot or too cold during the test you will be distracted. Having a sweater to put on or a t-shirt to strip down to will help regulate your body temperature. Besides, testing environments are typically on the cool side.
- Bring plenty of writing implements. 2 sharpened pencils and 2 pens? That should do, but have a few others just to be safe. Don’t forget your erasers, too.
And as for actually TAKING the test:
- Read your instructions carefully. If you have any questions about the directions, ask the testing proctor.
- Make notes only in places allowable (scratch paper, for example). The directions will tell you where.
- Carefully read each question and every answer choice. Make sure you know what the question IS asking, not what you THINK it is asking.
- Don’t spend too much time on one question. If you are taking a while to answer one question, skip it and make a note of which question it was so you can come back to it. MAKE SURE you skip that space on your answer sheet.
- If you finish early, don’t just put your head down. Go back and make sure you answered each question as you intended, and that you did not mislabel your answers (such as being off by one).