Test Preparation & Strategies

Test Preparation

Test Strategies (TST)
Test taking strategies are another component of academic success for students.  Often times, students will say they are not good at taking multiple choice tests.  The key to doing well is preparation and using good strategies. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself: 

  • Do you prepare appropriately for tests?
  • Do you try to integrate material from different sources?
  • Do you know how to modify your study habits in different types of courses?
  • Do you review your answers to essay questions?
  • Do you have problems with specific kinds of tests – multiple choice, essay, true/false, short answer, matching or essay?

Success in college depends on your:

  • Use of test preparation techniques
  • Application of test taking strategies

If you have problems with test taking, you may want to:

  • Learn more effective techniques for preparing for tests
  • Learn test taking strategies for the different types of tests and subject matter

Students should review these workshops:

  • Test Preparation and Test Taking Strategies
  • Preparing for Final Exams
  • Preparing for Academic Success

Students may also want to utilize these campus resources:

  • Center for Academic Resources or CFAR for tutoring assistance
  • Disability Services Office if you think you have a learning disability or run out of time during tests
  • Counseling Services, if you experience test anxiety regularly

Study Plan & Test Strategies

Plan Your Study Strategy 

The next step is to plan how you will prepare for final exams:  when will you begin studying and how will you study?  Successful students maximize their learning style, study during the time of day they are most alert, and utilize a variety of study aids. 

When Will You Begin Studying?
During fall semester, students have a small break for Thanksgiving and often want to use that time to enjoy their family and friends.  Studying, books and college are not at the forefront of their minds.  However, upon returning from Thanksgiving break, many students will have tests and exams, as December 3, 2010 is the last day professors can do so.  As such, students should dedicate 2-3 hours of studying during Thanksgiving break.  This will enable you to stay current with the course content and be adequately prepared for any tests, or papers that may be due the week following break.  If you do not have a test that week, utilize this precious time to get a jump start on final papers or exams!

Develop Practice Exams
In some instances your process may give you a study guide.  If you are not provided with a study guide, you have several options:  
1. Ask your professor if he or she has an old exam you can use.
2. Go to the Center for Academic Resources or CFAR, they have a host of old tests!
3. Many textbooks have websites to free online resources.  Often there are practice tests available for you to monitor your 
    understanding and mastery of the content.  
4. Look at the chapter reviews sections of your textbook.  Write the definitions of the terms, answer the questions.    
5. Develop a study guide based on your lecture notes.  Look for any “food for thought” questions your professor has mentioned during
    the semester. 

Focus on the Type of Exam
Multiple Choice Exams
True-False Exams
Essay Exams
Short Answer  & Fill in the Blank Exams

Control Your Concentration
    *Choose a place to study, where you will not be interrupted.  Dimond Library is a good place to study. 

    *Eliminate distractions:  iPod, Facebook, television, Twitter, movies, radio. 

    *Study in groups only if it is helpful to you and not a distraction. 

    *Set up several study sessions instead of one cram session. 

Matrix for Test Taking
Use this checklist of strategies to support your preparation for final exams and to enhance your test taking strategies. 


    Go to every class, ask questions.

    Develop a study guide.

    Review often. Join a study group if possible.

    Teach someone else the information


    Clarify expectations for the final exam.

    Summarize the information.

    Predict test questions.

    Take a sample test. 

Manage Your Time Wisely

    Organize the notes and materials you need to study.

    Write down thoughts, formulas, and important concepts. 

    Visit your professor for suggestions on how to study. 

    Get enough sleep before the test! 

Assess Where You Are

    Reread, recheck and rethink what you know.

    Analyze your previous quizzes and tests to understand your areas of weakness.  

    Modify and adjust your study strategies to maximize your study sessions.

    Reward yourself for completed study time.


Visualize Success
Visualization is a form of meditation, and can help you overcome exam nervousness.  Take a few moments to release the tension in your body by taking some deep breaths and slowly exhaling. 

Visualize yourself feeling very at east about taking the exam.  Feel yourself in the classroom, and in your seat.  You are very confident and know the material, because you have prepared in a timely manner and reviewed the information thoroughly.  You are relaxed and happy, writing the answers down with ease.  At the end, see yourself extremely pleased with what you have done and confident in your abilities to pass the class. 

During the Exam
It is important to eat breakfast BEFORE your examination.  Breakfast kick starts your metabolism and boosts your blood sugar levels.  If you miss breakfast, you may feel tired and unable to concentrate.  In addition:

    *Take an extra pencil or pen, and examination book. 

    *If you are feeling overly anxious, get some tension tamer tea with honey. This will help to soothe your nerves. 

    *Arrive in the room before the actual time the exam is to begin.  Do some deep breathing exercises to center your mind and calm
      your nerves. 

    *Listen carefully to any oral instructions for taking the exam and read the instructions carefully.

    *When you receive the test, plan how much time you can spend on each question. For example, if you have 1 hour with 60
      questions, you can spend only one minute on each question.   

    *Read every question completely before answering, and attempt to answer all the questions. 

    *Work methodically through the test by answering all the questions you are sure of first, then going back to the others in the time
      you have left.

    *Double check your work for errors before submitting the exam to your professor. 

    *Try NOT to change any of the answers on your tests, unless you are 100% sure!  Avoid second guessing yourself usually your first
      answer is the correct answer.