3 Test Prep Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Exam

May 29, 2019 by

Have you ever heard students say, “I’m just not a good test taker.”? Did you chalk it up to an excuse for them not wanting to take their final exam? While that might be true in some cases, in others, test anxiety is a real thing. Nerves can get in the way of performance. In other cases, students may master the lessons in class only to completely blank out come test time. Some of these factors are out of your control, but others can be helped. If you struggle on tests or see a student struggling, these helpful test prep tips can put put you on the path to success (and that A!).

1. Find a Quiet Study Space

Trying to study in the crowded lunchroom, on the bus on the way to school or during halftime at the basketball game? None of these scenarios (and countless others) are conducive to studying. Your brain can’t concentrate or retain the information it needs to when it’s being pulled in so many different directions. Find a quiet, uninterrupted place to study. This might be a library, your dorm room, or outdoors on a park bench – wherever you feel most creative and focused. Try to get up and walk around every so often, too. Staying stationary for too long can tighten up both your body and your mind. It’s best to break your study time up into a few one hour sessions. Or maybe shorter chunks of time might work better for you. Be honest with yourself and honor how your mind works best.

2. Grab a Partner

Two minds are better than one. While for some people, working in pairs might be too distracting, others thrive on collaboration. Sometimes, your study partner will see or explain information in a new or different way that makes it easier to retain. Make up index cards and share them. This cuts down on time and materials. There’s also the issue of accountability. It’s far too easy to put off your studying for another time or skipping your next study session because you made better (more exciting) plans. Your study partner will hold you accountable — especially if they want a decent grade! Agree that you’ll study, uninterrupted for one hour before hitting that frat party!

3. Take a Practice Test

Practice makes perfect. Maybe it’s not the information you struggle with but instead the act of taking the test. If that’s the case, a practice test is the perfect solution. Ask your teacher or professor to give you a practice test that includes the type of questions you’ll see on your upcoming exam. You can practice answering multiple choice questions and writing essays. If you’re studying for a specific type of test, check online for practice materials. The TExES Practice Test is a great example of the type of practice test you should include in your test prep. After you’re done, go back and see what questions you got wrong. In some cases, it may not be the information but instead the type of question that tripped you up. There are certain tricks to answering multiple choice questions that might be the difference between passing and failing.

So, the big test day is on the horizon. You’ve gathered your materials and a study-buddy. Now it’s time to find that perfect place to focus and prepare yourself. Another golden rule of test prep is not procrastinating. While reviewing before the test is recommended, waiting until the last is a recipe for disaster. Be proactive and be prepared!

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