5 Tips for Poor Test Takers

Ever since I can remember, tests have given me anxiety. I’ve always been scared to pick the wrong answer. I second guess myself and pick “A” instead of “B” all of the time. After taking my fair share of exams in college, I have found a couple of tricks that have helped me do better. Follow these five tips and tricks to succeed in school even if test taking is not your forte.  

 

1. Find classes that are writing based  

As someone who has always struggled with timing on tests, I have found that written exams are great. Writing papers allows you to show your professor and TA that you understand the material being learned in class. While math and science classes are not normally writing based, liberal arts courses such as sociology, literature and geography often have papers instead of tests that won’t make you want to snap your pencil in half.

 

2. Some classes do online quizzes and tests  

Since the physical aspect of hearing a clock “tick-tock” and a pencil screech across a page makes my heartbeat triple in pace, taking tests online allows me to pace myself and utilize my notes. Depending on the class, the quiz may be timed a minute per question, you may have an hour to take the entire quiz or, if you’re lucky, you might have unlimited time.

 

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare  

Even though we all know not to wait until the last moment to study, procrastination is inevitable. Start to study a week before an exam or at least review your notes early on.

 

4. Find the best study method for you  

Everybody studies differently. Making a Quizlet (or using someone else’s), typing or writing a study guide and talking over the test materials with friends have been the most helpful methods for me when preparing for an exam. If I have time, often I try to do all three.

 

5. Figure out where you like to study  

There are so many places to study on campus that it may be difficult to figure out where the best place is to get work done. Test out different environments and try to determine which place suits your needs best.

 

If you are anything like me and enjoy projects and writing assignments more than taking tests, research the classes, look into the syllabus and refer to other people who have taken the class to feel more confident when midterms season rolls around.