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Test Taking Strategies - Preparation

Test taking can be a challenge. Even when you have studied for a test, you may still have difficulty recalling important information and solving problems. Effective test preparation can improve your performance on tests. Below are some strategies to help you prepare effectively for your tests.

Participate in Class
Lectures present new ideas and reinforce information from the reading material. Therefore, it is important to attend every class, pay attention to the lecture, and write down important content. Beyond listening in class, actively participate in class discussions, group projects, and other assignments to deepen your understanding.

Read your Textbook
Complete all of the required reading for the course. Reading the material prior to class will help deepen your understanding during the lecture, allow you to make a better contribution to class discussions, and will give you an opportunity to ask questions about information from the reading that you did not understand.

Ask Questions
Discuss any material you do not understand with your professor. Short questions can often be asked during or after class. If you require a more thorough explanation visit your professor during office hours.

Use Effective Study Methods
If you are not sure what study methods to use, ask for help from your professor, academic advisor, tutor, or other staff member at your college. Try out different techniques to see what works best for you.

Study in Small Segments
To understand and remember information effectively, it is best to study in small segments over time, and then review the information the night before the test.

Quiz Yourself
Determine potential test questions. Write the question on one side of a note card and the answer the other side. Ask yourself these questions to see if you remember the answer.

Form Study Groups
Study with classmates to reinforce material and to deepen your understanding of the subject.

Stay Healthy
Eat healthy foods and exercise. The healthier you are, the easier it will be to process and retain information. While it is always important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is especially important immediately before to the test. Have a nutritious meal the night before the test and eat healthy meals the day of the test. It is hard to concentrate on a test when you are hungry.

Sleep
Being well rested will help you study more effectively. The night before the test is especially important because lack of sleep can leave you unfocused, making it difficult for you to read test questions carefully, recall information, and solve problems. It is more important to get a good night's sleep before a test than to spend a few extra hours studying.


It is important to begin preparing for tests from the beginning of your course. Using the strategies above can help you effectually prepare for your tests and improve your test scores.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Susan D. Bates. All rights reserved.
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