Whether you are taking a test or prepping for the SAT, test taking is something that provokes anxiety for students. In this case, it is important to be prepared and try to calm down in order to be able to pass it. As Alissa Zucker, an essay writer, says “nervousness makes our brains work in an inappropriate way because we are starting to forget even obvious things”.
Tips for Students Before the Test
Get Some Rest the Night before
This tip is an old standard, but there’s a reason for it. Staying up all night studying or worrying about a test doesn’t leave you with much energy the next day. And when you have no energy, your brain isn’t up to optimal performance. It’s a bad cycle to get into.
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need in One Place
If the object is to reduce stress, running around trying to find #2 pencils (or to sharpen them) or not being able to find your calculator is not going to help. Lay everything out in place so you can grab it in the morning and go.
If you’re tired, hungry or sick to your stomach, you’re not going to do well on the test. So, even if you hate to eat in the morning, try to put some protein in your stomach to give your brain a fighting chance
Be on Time
Don’t miss the bus, don’t dawdle in the hallways and don’t show up for the PSAT, SAT or ACT late. Your teacher may be forgiving, but achievement test monitors are not.
You will most likely be turned away at the door if you show up late.
Tips for Students during the Test
Take a deep breath, do some stretching exercises and try to stay relaxed. The calmer you are, the easier it will be to concentrate on the questions and not focus on how tense your body is.
Know How Much Time You Have and Pace Yourself
The goal isn’t to be the first one done, it’s to do as well as you are able to. Pacing yourself gives you enough time to be thoughtful about each question and make sure you’re done in time.
Read the Directions before You Read the Question
You would know all the material forwards and backwards, but if you misunderstand how the answer should be phrased or what you are looking for, it’s easy to blow an entire test.
Read the Question Carefully
Sure, there’s bound to be some information that you can discard, but you won’t know what’s relevant until you take in all the information. Don’t worry about how much time you have left for the rest of the questions. Right now the one you are working on takes top priority.
Always Use Complete Sentences for Essay Tests
The trick is to assume the reader has no prior knowledge about what you are going to explain. So, give some background, rephrase the question to start your answer and write as though you’re telling a new story.
Eliminate the Answers that Can’t Be Right before Choosing One
That requires reading the question and all of the answers of a multiple choice test before making an informed decision. Sometimes, it’s easier to spot wrong answers than right ones. If you get rid of the wrong ones, the right one may be right in front of you.
Skip a Question if You’re Stymied
If you absolutely cannot figure out the answer, starting at the words over and over again won’t help. It will take up time and make you more anxious. Continue on with the test and come back to it.
Look for Signal Words
Words that state absolutes, like never, every, not, all and always, often signal an incorrect answer. There’s very little flexibility in absolutes and correct answers rarely are so forceful.
Know that Sometimes the Right Answer Is Simply the Most Correct Answer
Some tests, like the SAT and other achievement tests, aren’t just measuring knowledge, but also your problem-solving skills. That means sometimes the answer is the one that makes the most sense, but doesn’t seem exactly right.
Make Educated Guesses
That doesn’t mean you should fill out the bubble sheet in a fancy pattern, but one of the best tips for taking multiple choice tests is that sometimes you have to make a guess. Once you’ve eliminated the wrong answers, if you’re still stuck, it’s better to guess at an answer than to leave the spot blank.
Check Your Test before You Turn It in
Make sure all the questions are answered, that the bubble sheet is filled out correctly and even that you’ve put your name on your test. However, resist the urge to change a lot of answers. Often, your first instinct is correct.