I was never the best test-taker in college. I could study for a week straight for one exam or put in a few hours before test time and not really see a difference in my results. Why? My nerves always got me! I did, however, receive a few pieces of advice from various professors that helped ease my anxiety around test time.
Before Test Time
- Bring extra pens/pencils, not all professors will lend them out if yours run out of ink or break
- Bring your calculator/book/notecards, etc. – have everything on hand that you are permitted
- Review your notes but don’t try to cram a ton of information into a short period of time
- Get plenty of rest and eat before you go so you can focus and not be distracted
During the Assessment
- Fill in all the questions you know for sure and come back to those that leave you stumped
- Don’t 2nd guess – I’ve been told many times that the first answer you choose is usually the correct one, so unless you have a sudden epiphany, try not to over-think questions you already answered
- If scrap paper is handed out, use it to jot down definitions, formulas, acronyms you’ve memorized-anything you think might help
- Try not to look around while you are contemplating a question (many professors will think you are cheating, which has severe consequences!)
- Avoid the temptation to discuss the questions and how you answered with fellow classmates
- Follow up with your professor when you find out how you did. If you’d like to improve for the next exam, ask for tips on what to study– No one knows the exam better than the person that wrote it
Do you have any additional tips that work for you? Share them with us in the comments below!