5 Essential Test Taking Tips For Students

You know that sick feeling you get in your stomach when you think of finals week? Well, don't worry. You're not alone. There are 5 test taking tips that will make finals week much more bearable and help you prepare for a test better. 

1. Carefully Read Through All The Questions.

When you get your test, the first test taking tip is to read through the entire test. This means that you read the directions at the beginning, the matching problems, the word problems, and all the multiple choice questions. 

Reading through all the problems will give you a good "roadmap" for the test, so to speak. You will know the easy questions from the hard questions, and you'll be able to schedule your time accordingly (very useful for tests with a time limit).

Also, as you carefully read through each question, circle and underline important words and phrases. These are phrases like:

- Which one of the following is NOT correct?

- True or False?

- All of the following except…

- All of the Above

- None of the Above

- Etc.

You need to find out what the question is asking you to do before you can solve it! Find out what it is actually asking, and you will know exactly how to answer it.

2.  Answer the Easiest Questions First

You need to get your mind going. You also need to build some momentum in your favor before taking on those harder questions. This test taking tip is sure to do both!

Answering the easiest questions first will build your confidence. We have all felt the feeling of nervousness before a big test. Answering the easy questions first will give you confidence and help loosen you up.

This will also help get your mind in a problem solving mindset. I like to think of it as "priming the pump" of your mind. Get your mind "pumping" out the answers with the easy questions before you get to the hard questions. 

3. Keep The Answering "Momentum" Moving

This test taking tip requires you to keep moving. Don't allow yourself to get stuck. If you don't know the answer, just skip it and come back later. You'll be able to keep your mind free from any cluttering or overbearing thoughts.

This tip helps to preserve that confidence you built with tip # 2. Don't get bogged down early in a test with a hard questions. Just make a note and answer it later.

4. Narrow Down Your Choices

When you get to a question that you just aren't sure about, try narrowing down the choices. Eliminate the obviously wrong answers. If there is one choice that isn't at all relevant to the question, you can toss it out.

This is simply the process of elimination, and it works great with almost any type of test question (except, of course, an essay question).

If you narrow down a multiple choice question from 4 to 3, your chances of success improve. If you can narrow it down from 4 to 2, then you're doing even better!


It is very important that you relax during a test. You might think, "How can I?!" Well, every so often, put your pencil down (because taking a test with a pen is just crazy) and close your eyes and take a deep breath.

Breath in deep through your nose and out through your mouth. Don't do this loudly as you don't want to disturb those around you. Just a simple breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Try to do it slowly and under control. 

This will not only help keep you calm, cool, and collected, but you will also be able to think more clearly and with more focus. 

Using these 5 essential test taking tips, combined with excellent study and preparation for the test, is sure to bring you the success you want and need as a college student.

Author Bio: Matt Smith is a college student and webmaster of College-Student-Answers, a site that helps college students find simple answers to their college questions

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: test taking tips, test taking tips for students, prepare for a test, taking a test