Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Ace a Test (For Students of All Ages)

Would you like to know how to ace a test?  Do you feel like, “I’m smart, I’m just not a good test taker?”  Test taking requires a certain set of skills that is not always taught in school.  Many teachers give tests assuming that if their students know the answers they will perform well on a test, but that is not always the case.  So if you’d like to know how to get better grades and really ace a test the next time, read on. 

Step 1
Prepare yourself every class session for learning everything you can in order to be prepared for your test.  This means having good attendance, taking notes and really listening during lectures, participating actively in workshops, and asking your teacher for clarification when you need it.  For more tips on these skills, see resource links below this article. 

Step2
Study every night.  For tips on how to study effectively, check the resources at the bottom of this article.

Step3
Provided you follow those 3 prerequisite steps, you should have the information you need to do your homework.  Relax the night before.  The night before a test is not the time to cram. Try to relax and get a full night's sleep. Eat a well balanced breakfast (and dinner the night before, for that matter).

Step4
Arrive a little early because if you're late you may feel flustered and distracted.

Step5
Read the whole test before answering the questions.  If you get stuck on part of the test, read the rest of it. Sometimes a question further along in the test gives you a hint or triggers your memory about the question you're stuck on.

Step6
"Read" the testing environment.  If you're having trouble recalling a specific fact, look around the room. (Not at others' tests, obviously!) But studies show that the visual cues in the environment where you learned a fact can trigger your recall of that fact on a test. If you were looking at the flag when the teacher told you what year WWII started, glancing back at the flag could trigger that memory.

Step7
Finally, just as you do when completing assignments, make sure you answer every part of every question. If you're not sure about an answer, it's usually better to go with your best guess than to skip it (but check with the teacher because some tests are graded differently).

Step8
Try your best always.  Good luck!
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