Exam Taking Tips

There's no denying the sweaty palms, pounding head and sudden vacancy in the part of the brain dedicated to everything that happens be on the current test that's being taken. Taking tests is one of the biggest anxiety-inducing activities for college students, and many students even find themselves struggling to maintain acceptable grades because of text anxiety. Use these handy exam taking tips to learn how to relax, breathe and exceed at test-taking.

Stay Calm

Breathe and read. Anxiety often makes the brain feel muddled and leads to a lack of reading comprehensive. Take a few deep breaths and take the time to deliberately read through each question before answering it. Many people like to read through the entire exam before beginning to answer any questions. It may be beneficial to make quick notes for longer problems to make sure that key points stay in mind. Review the answer after completing the question and compare it to the question to make sure that it is logical.

Keep Refreshed

Most examination proctors allow clear water bottles to be brought into the examination hall. Ensure that you are well hydrated during an exam as this helps to fight off anxiety and clear your mind. 


Find perspective before taking an exam. While a test could be worth a percentage of the overall class grade, don't give one test more clout than it deserves. All this does is contribute to test-taking anxiety.

Plan to manage time before stepping into the examination room. Scrambling to calculate the remaining time after half of the test is already over does nothing but waste time and isn't conducive to successful exam taking. Realizing that time management concerns were ignored in the planning process can just lead to more anxiety.

Time Management

Time management during an exam means having a convenient source for checking on the time so that you are able to keep track of your progress. Since most test proctors do not allow cell phones during the testing process, bring a watch to stay informed about time, don’t rely on the exam hall to have a clock. Take time at the start of the test to become familiar with the types of questions and quickly formulate a schedule for completing each section.

Take a minute after the test is completed to go through each page and check for incomplete answers. Make sure the carefully check the pages to be sure that none have stuck together. There have been students who have missed an entire page of a test by accident, but don't let this fact fuel anxiety. Instead, use this knowledge as a cue to double-check tests before handing them in.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to seek out help if test anxiety is severe enough to interfere with everyday life and is not controlled with the exam taking tips listed above. Many colleges have realized that test anxiety is a real problem that can keep even exceptional students from excelling. Counselors may be able to discuss options for taking tests that can reduce anxiety and increase success. Students who have a proven problem with testing anxiety may be allowed to have more time to take an exam or may be given a quiet area to work on the test.

Author Bio: This article was contributed by Eli David who is the owner and founder of Consulting Guru which is a company that guides and mentors students and young professionals through the management consulting recruiting process. Consulting Guru, led by Eli has a carefully thought out strategy for the entire recruiting process. Initial interviews at all the top firms are daunting, many of them include problems solving test like McKinsey has their famous McKinsey PST. From writing CV’s and cover letters to the initial interview and further career advancement in your current management consulting position Consulting Guru has a special package suited to you.   

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: test taking tips, test taking, test taking tips for students, exam taking tips, exam taking

Top 10 Test Taking Tips

Many students who otherwise make good grades on class work do not do as well taking tests. It is suspected that students who lack confidence in their test taking skills are actually trying so hard that they “choke” or spend too much time on one or two problems and don’t have time to answer the questions they may have known. Learning strategies used by “good” test takers along with ways to stay relaxed and focused will help these otherwise good students overcome this disadvantage. 

Below, you will find top 10 test taking tips that will help you succeed. 

1. Come prepared and on time.

  • Rushing to class will add to your stress

2. Bring everything with you will need for the test.

3. Arrive early enough to focus your brain with a quick look at your notes.

4. Stay relaxed and focused.

  • Approach the test as you would a difficult task you have accomplished before.
  • Take deep breaths to keep calm and repeat the exercise throughout the test to keep relaxed.
  • Keep your focus on the task and not other students.
  • If you blank out, picture yourself in a calm place while wiggling your fingers, toes, and taking deep breaths.
  • Don’t throw yourself into a panic over one question. 
  • Skip it and move on.

5. Have a plan of attack.

  • Before beginning, look over the test to give yourself an idea of how long the test is.
  • Organize your time based on which sections are easier to complete and which questions are worth the most points. 
  • Calculate how long you should take on each section and keep track of how you’re doing.  
  • If you think it will help clear your mind or organize your thoughts, jot down information you don't want to forget on a scrap of paper.

6. Understand the directions.

  • Read the instructions!
  • Understand how the test is scored: Is there a penalty for guessing? 
  • Scan and underline keywords.
  • Neatness counts. Graders who can’t read your answers will likely not count your answers.

7. Have a strategy for answering questions.

  • Answer the easiest questions first to build confidence and to calm nerves. 
  • Next, answer questions with the most point value.
  • Matching questions containing terms and definitions are often good reminders of important points.
  • Try to answer every question. You have a 50% chance of choosing correctly.
  • Make an educated guess that you “feel” is right then flag it so you can come back to it.

8. Analyze the question.

  • Identify and circle key words.
  • Read an item through and answer based on your first impression. 
  • Re-read the item, expressing its thought in your own words.
  • Look for each question's central idea.
  • Focus on addressing each question from your instructor’s point of view. 

9. Take advantage of all of your time. 

  • Take this time to look over your test.

10. Review.

  • Check all of your answers, correct any spelling errors and make any additions or corrections. 

Learning to be a good test taker is something every student can learn to do. As with anything else we try to do, however, learning good test taking skills takes practice and building our knowledge base, which in turn will provide the student with the confidence they need.  

Patti Hale is a freelance writer who spends her time writing for various blogs, including Career Training Base. One of her most popular articles is about Texas Apprenticeships.

Categories: Writing Tips   Tags: top 10 test taking tips, top ten test taking tips, test taking tips, test taking