How To Take Tests

Don't fear those exams and tests! Learn how to take tests and achieve higher scores with these incredible tricks and techniques.

Do you experience test anxiety? Here are some tips that may help you cope on test day. There are so many common sense tricks that you can use to help you score well on your next test. Many times, a student just needs to relax so that they can concentrate better. Try to keep in mind that these tips have helped many average students become top-notch students. These are techniques that anyone can do. You too can learn new ways to score the highest possible grade on your next exam!

Should I cram before that big final?

Actually, well-paced and regular study is your best bet. Students that read the material and take notes do in class, but only study for an hour or so right before the test might do a mediocre job of learning, but students that spend even five or ten minutes studying every few days achieve much better grades. This is because studying more often makes the material much more familiar to your brain.

Contrary to popular belief, cramming for a test doesn't help you to achieve higher scores. You just may be surprised what can help you much, much more- rest. That's right. Psychological studies have determined that rest is a very important factor. Get a good night's sleep before that big exam. People that have at least seven hours prior to a test are reported to have higher levels of achievement. A good diet is another factor. You should eat a good breakfast before a test, although a very large meal immediately before a test may not be a good idea. A high carbohydrate meal may make you tired and less able to concentrate.

Should I study at school?

It really doesn't matter where you study, as long as it is the same place. It is a good idea to have a very specific place that you do all of your studying. This helps your brain and body to relax and it also cues you that it is time to learn.

Should my study space be quiet?

This place should be quiet, well lit, comfortable, and in an area that has a positive atmosphere. This can differ depending on your preferences. Of course, some psychological studies have shown that soothing music like the classics or the sounds of nature- a brook babbling or birds' chirping- can help students to achieve even higher grades. Some top students listen to relaxing music, others listen to rock, and even some have been known to have the TV droning in the background. It just depends on what you are used to doing.

I try to study, but I just can't focus. Is this common?

Yes, many students have trouble concentrating on sometimes boring material. What helps many people succeed in retaining the reading material is making the information apply to them. For instance, if you are learning about famous scientists, try to make their lives take on a personal meaning. Think about what your life would be like if the airplane were never invented. Imagine what the world would be like without television or computers. If you are learning economics, try to see how this information will help you plan a better budget. Use the knowledge!

Another good tip is to ask yourself mental questions about what you are reading. Stop every ten minutes or so and think about what you've read. By doing this, you are instilling a curiosity- a thirst for knowledge.

You see, the brain can not read for more than about fifteen minutes straight without getting rather numbed by the rote, droning process. Get up and walk around. Get a snack or a drink. Walk the dog or check your email and then go back to studying

I get so nervous before a test and forget things that I know! What can I do?

The night before the test, tell yourself that you will be calm and self-assured before your test. Program your mind to quickly give you the answers. Tell yourself that tests are fun. Repeat these thoughts just before falling off to sleep. This is a psychological technique that can be employed to help anyone be more productive, relaxed, and confident in almost any situation. This is a sort of self-programming. There are some very revolutionary studies being conducted on this technique currently. Programming yourself in this manner can be used to help "program" your brain almost as if it were a computer. Use this method for almost any obstacle that may block your path.

Other tricks and tips for higher scores:

1. Be sure to ask detailed questions of your instructor about the material.

2. Read the material at least once and then re-read for clarity.

3. Take notes in class.

4. Use a highlighter to mark important facts both in your notes and in your text if this is allowed.

5. If you are a college student, it is much better to mark directly in your book. (Most college bookstores still buy books back that have highlighted passages.)

6. Use flashcards to quiz yourself.

7. Have a friend test you on the material.

8. Create a sample test.

9. Use various mnemonic techniques. (To learn more about this, you can either check your local library or does an Internet search for learning tips and mnemonic methods.)

10. Think of tests as fun and challenging ways to get feedback about how well you have mastered the material.


Essentials of Psychology 7th Edition by Dennis Coon

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