Test-Taking Strategies

Once you have the test in your hands, you need to take control; do not let the test control you. Test anxiety begins to creep in when you relinquish control and allow your mind to wander from the material in front of you.

  • Focus on remaining calm, relaxed, and positive. Check your breathing often. Check your neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Use relaxation techniques; for example, take long deep breaths to relax the body and reduce stress.
  • Take a few moments to look over the exam, reading directions and noting point values. (Remember to check whether or not there are questions on the back side of the pages).
  • Jot down those items you are trying to not forget so you can relax your mind and allow it to focus on your answers.
  • Put your full concentration solely on the question at hand. Do not think about the previous questions nor the questions coming up.
  • Do not spend too much time on any one question.
  • Write down whatever you know. Do not leave questions blank. Many instructors give partial credit, so any points are better than none.
  • Proofread your exam. Check for omissions and check to see if you have made any typical errors.
  • Allow yourself the entire test period to finish the exam. Do not allow those who leave early to bother you.
  • Use only positive self-talk. Maintain a cheerful attitude.