How to Ace all Your Tests

Are you a good test taker, or do you dread the thought of answering multiple choice and short answer questions? Unless you’re in an unconventional class or graduate level class that only requires you to turn in papers, chances are you have tests during the school year. Some professors only test students through the midterm and final exam, but most require additional tests and quizzes throughout the school year. Some professors may even give you pop quizzes. Just the knowledge that a quiz could be sprung upon them at any moment can make some students quake in fear. Tests might be cumulative or only cover a particular unit or set of chapters. Because they usually make up a larger percentage of your overall grade than mere homework assignments or class participation, tests are very important! One of the best actions you can take to prepare yourself for tests is to keep up with the reading. Because most professors don’t actively screen students to find out if students read, it’s easy to fall behind and underestimate their importance. But if you read the chapters regularly and on time you can focus on other study techniques leading up to the test instead of trying to cram all the reading in at once. Another habit to get into is taking notes, both during class and on your readings. Taking notes during class will help you to pick up on important information the professor shares that you might not be able to read later in the book. Some students record lectures and take notes from them later when they can stop and play the recording. Taking notes on readings help cement information in your head and organize primary, secondary, and tertiary topics in a helpful way for later studying. If professors send out study questions before the test, definitely go over them thoroughly. Even though they won’t be the exact questions on the quiz or exam, the questions often closely resemble those you will see on testing day and can help you think critically about major themes. Lastly, consider forming a study group with some of your friends in the class. Collaborating on study efforts allows you to answer each other’s questions and discuss various perspectives, not to mention help you stay motivated! In the midst of all this schoolwork, make sure you give yourself breaks too! Overworking your brain can make it harder to retain information and stay motivated, and may ultimately hurt your test grade.

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