How to Improve Test Taking Skills


Throughout your student life, you will find yourself taking a seemingly countless number of tests. Regardless of the subject of the test, there are things about test taking that always remain the same. For those similar aspects, there are a number of test taking techniques that can assist you in achieving exam success. If you choose to apply these techniques, you will begin to yield better test taking results.

  • Practice remaining calm. Many students feel anxious when taking a test; this only hurts their score. Practice some rituals that help you calm down. Use these rituals before taking a test. Some examples are listing to inspiring music, meditating or breathing deeply.

  • Enhance your sense of bodily awareness. Many students do not know when they are mentally stressed or when their bodies need rest. Your physical health has an influence on your mental clarity. When you are physically unhealthy or tired, you are more likely to perform poorly on a test. Similarly, if you are mentally stressed, your physical body will feel the influence of the stress, becoming weaker. Thus, being aware of your body's condition before a test is important. When you are tired, rest. When you are stressed, find a way to relax, such as exercising, going for a walk or enjoying (in moderation) junk food or alcohol.

  • Create concrete study habits. Cramming is not a useful test strategy. Instead, create a schedule for your studies. Make a timetable and organize the way in which you study. Studying before sleeping is best if convenient for you, as this allows better retention of material.

  • Review often. Reviewing helps you retain information. Spaced reviewing is the most efficient form of reviewing. Review the day after you learn something new. A week later review that information again. Review one month after the second review. Finally review before a test. This is the optimal method of spaced reviewing for test taking.

  • Use feedback. Your previous exams and assignments are essential resources. Use the feedback from your teacher to correct your mistakes. This feedback is also useful for finding your weak points, allowing you to know where to focus in the material.

Related Searches


  • Kevin Smith; Rio Hondo College; Whittier, California.
  • "The Student's Guide to Exam Success"; Eileen Tracy; 2006
  • "Strategies for Test-Taking Success"; Christy Newman; 2006
  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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