Test-taking Strategies


1. Find out what examination format your professor will use (e.g., long answer essay questions, multiple choice, short answer essay questions). Ask your professor for "practice" exams or find out if old exams are available. Take as many as you can and check your answers against the answer key, with a tutor, study partner, or graduate assistant.


2. If no prior exams or questions are provided, and if essay-type exams will be given, try to anticipate the questions that will be asked on the exam. Write out your answers to the anticipated questions.


3. Be sure to go into exams rested and not having just consumed a large amount of sugar or caffeine; complex carbohydrates and some protein will provide the best source of energy over an extended period of time.


4. If you have memorized specific formula, dates, names, or terminology for an exam, before you begin working on the exam, write down all that you have committed to memory and use, as needed, later in the exam.


5. Read test directions carefully, underlining the verb that describes what you are to do: describe, compare, summarize, list. Then follow the directions precisely.


6. Begin by answering the easiest questions first. Circle the hard ones and come back to them after you have answered the easy ones.


7. Pace yourself. Even if you have extended time, it is not unlimited.


8. If you come to a question you don't understand, paraphrase it for the proctor in order to get confirmation that you have understood what the question meant.