Test Taking Strategies

To enhance your test taking skills and get that ‘A’, take a moment to review the common test taking errors and tips referenced below.    testing pic
Read the Instructions/Questions Carefully: You have probably heard this tip a thousand times but failure to read the instructions and each question carefully can result in careless errors. Do not skim—read thoroughly and carefully. Sometimes, wrong answers can be the result of skipping over important directions.

Label Your Test: Make sure your name and student ID are on the test along with any other information required by the instructor or testing center. You would be surprised at how many students, anxious to get started, forget to put their name on the test or the Scantron! Failure to include your name will most likely result in a zero!!

Sequence Errors: Concept errors such as misunderstanding a principle involved in solving the problem or steps involved in the process can create problems in answering the question correctly. When studying, take time to review your lecture notes and textbook carefully to ensure you follow the proper sequence is answering the question. (Use flash cards and/or mnemonics when studying, to help remember and recall the order.)

Missing Problems in the Test: If you are anxious and/or have a tendency to rush, you may miss problems or skip a step. If you are confused on a question, circle it and come back to it later. If you have a tendency to skip the last step or part of a question, be sure to look at this part of the problem first. Always remember to review your test before turning it in!

Spending too Much Time on One Question: If you are spending too much time on one question, circle it, and refer back to it after you have completed the other questions (as you move forward through the test – other questions may prompt you to remember the answer to the question that stumped you). If you are taking a timed test, you may want to consider wearing a watch (testing centers do not allow cell phones at your testing station).

Recording the Incorrect Answer: Accidentally, copying the wrong answer from your scratch paper to the actual test can result in a disaster. To avoid this, strategically plan to compare your answer on the scratch paper with the one on the test.

Review your Answers: Careless mistakes such as forgetting to add two numbers in a long math problem, skipping steps or accidentally missing a question, can result in zero credit or a loss of points. To protect yourself against this common error, after completing each question/problem, review your answers thoroughly.

Preparing for Future Quizzes/Tests: Once you have received your quiz/test back, be sure to review it and look up every question that you missed.  Determine the reason why you missed the question and learn from it so you will understand the concept(s) and be able to apply the correct information on your next exam.

If you have questions or would benefit from additional strategies, reach out to an ELI Success Coach today by calling 703.323.3347 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu. From test taking strategies to time management, we are here to answer your questions and help you access resources that will empower you to navigate the semester and pave your way to a successful academic journey.

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