Test Taking Strategies

Test Taking Strategies



  1. Control anxiety! Take one step at a time.  Some test questions are easy, some are difficult, some are short, others long.  Relax and take them one at a time.
  2. Think positively.  The goal is, “I’m going to do the best I can do,” rather than, “I’ll never make it through this thing.”
  3. Be physically fit and alert.  Get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast, take no stimulants or tranquilizers, do not drink a lot of fluids, and do not over-eat!
  4. Know your personal strengths and weaknesses related to taking a test and control them.  Do not jump at the first answer.  Do not spend too much time on any one question, and so not second-guess yourself.
  5. Pace yourself: Do the ‘math’ of a test.  Look through the test section to see how many questions you have to answer in the amount of time given.  Then calculate how much time you can spend on each question.


  1. Listen to directions, and you must ask questions about any directions you do not understand.
  2. When reading directions, be aware of the vocabulary that is used.  Know exactly what each work means, as it relates to the exam.   The QUESTION is the TEST!
  3. ERASE any STRAY marks.  The scoring machine may mark a correct answer wrong because there is an extra mark in the area!


  1. Know the importance of time management.  View this skill as an area for development, just as knowledge of content is an area for development.
  2. Scan an entire test before beginning an exam.  Become adept at picking out the easy and difficult items without immediately trying to answer them.
  3. Learn to skip items, then go back if time allows.  Do the easy items first, then go back and o the more difficult items.
  4. If an answer sheet is used and an item is skipped, be sure to mark the skipped item’s number on the answer sheet.  This prevents answering the next item in the wrong answer space.  Be certain to erase the mark after the test is complete.
  5. Read all the choices on a multiple choice test before choosing an answer.  Test makers like to trick you by putting a “sort of” right answer first and the better answer later.
  6. NOTE:  the more tests you take, the better test taker you will be!
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