Taking Exams and Tests
can prepare for exams in many ways and certain methods are better than others depending on your learning style.
what type of exam you will be taking is also very important. Possibilities might
be Essay, Multiple choice or true/false WHY WOULD THIS BE IMPORTANT?
(a) Essay = analysis, synthesis, evaluation and supporting your answers
(b) Multiple choice/true and false = 50/50 chance, memorizing dates, times.
EXAMS: The Long View
Preparing for your tests should actually begin on the first day of class. All your notes, assigned readings and homework are all part of that preparation.
It’s important to become familiar with your syllabus. A properly prepared
syllabus is your contract or guide for the entire course. You can analyze it
to ascertain what things will be covered and when, to be aware of exam dates and methods of evaluation. This information will be helpful for good time
Doing well on exams can depend on your physical and emotional preparation.
(a) Maintain your regular sleep routine (Don’t cut back on your sleep in order to cram in additional study hours.)
(b) Follow your exercise program (Walking, jogging, swimming, or other aerobic activities are effective stress reducers that
may help you think more clearly)
(c) Eat right (You really are what you eat. Avoid eating more than one or two caffeinated
drinks a day or eating foods that are high in sugar or fat.
(a) Know Your Material (If you have given yourself adequate time to review, you will enter the classroom confident
that you are in control).
(b) Practice Relaxing (Some students experience upset stomachs, sweaty palms, racing hearts, or other unpleasant symptoms
of test anxiety. Try to eliminate as much of this as possible).
(c) Use Positive Self-tall (Instead of telling yourself “I never do well on tests”, make positive statements, such as “I have
attended all the lectures, done my homework, and passed the quizzes. Now I’m
ready to pass the test”).
(d) Join a Study Group Research studies have shown that joining a study group is one of the most effective strategies
for preparing for exams. Study groups can help you develop better study techniques
in addition to gaining a different view of your instructors goals, objectives and emphasis).
Symptoms of Test Anxiety
Test anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. Some students
feel it on the very first day of class. Others students begin showing symptoms
the night before the test, the morning of the exam or actually while taking the test.
Symptoms of test anxiety can include “butterflies” in the stomach, feeling queasy or nauseous,
severe headaches, a faster heartbeat, hyperventilating, shaking, sweating, or muscle cramps.
During the exam itself, students overcome by test anxiety can experience the sensation of “going blank”,
unable to remember what they know they know.
Overcoming Test Anxiety
Test anxiety takes many different sources.
To combat such anxiety, you must know its source.
Others Expectations (parents, friends, spouse, or others close to
Lack of Preparation (not having kept up with assignments, readings etc.)
It can be the result of the pressure you put on yourself to succeed. Without any pressure, students would not be motivated to study; therefore, some stress connected with taking
exams is natural and can enhance performance. However, when you put too much
pressure on yourself or set unrealistic goals for yourself, the result is stress that is no longer motivating, but debilitating.
Tips for Successful Test Taking
The following are simple tips that may help in test situations:
Analyze, ask, and stay calm (Read all the instructions before you
begin so that you understand what to do. Ask the instructor for clarification
if you don’t understand something)
Make the best use of your time (Quickly survey the entire test and
decide how much time you will spend on each section).
Answer the easy questions first (Complete the type of questions you
are most comfortable with first. Be sure to allow enough time for any essays).
If you finish early, don’t leave (Stay and check your work for
Many college teachers have s strong preference for the essay exam for a simple
reason: It promotes higher-order critical thinking, whereas other types of exams tend to be exercises in memorization.
When taking essay exams;
Budget your exam time
Develop a brief outline of your answers before you begin to write
Write concise, organized answers
Preparing for multiple-choice tests requires you to actively review all of the
material covered in the course.
When taking Multiple-choice exams, remember to take advantage of the many cues
that multiple-choice questions contain. Question choices that use absolute
words such as always, never, and only: These choices are often (but not always) incorrect.
Remember, for the question to be true, every detail of the question must be true. Questions containing words such as Always, Never, and only are usually false. Whereas less definitive terms such as often and frequently suggest the statement may be true.
Open-Book and Open-Note Tests
If you never had open-book or open-note tests in high school, you may be tempted to study less thoroughly,
thinking that you will have access to all the information you need during the test.
This is a common misjudgment on the part of first-year students.
Open book and open note test are usually harder than other exams, not easier.
Most students find that they do not have enough time to spend looking up answers during this type of
You may want to use the same strategy for studying as you would for any regular test. Use Numbered pages in you notes where you anticipate certain answers can be found. This will help you conserve
time as you search for answers.
Whatever you do, study as completely as you would for any other test, and do not be fooled into thinking
that you do not need to know the material.