Test-Taking Strategies

Preparing for Tests

  • Maintain good study habits:  Do your class work.

             *Have a clear understanding of homework assignments before leaving class.

             *Keep a record of assignments received and completed.

             *Make a study schedule and follow it.

             *Tell your parents about schoolwork and homework.

             *Turn in homework on time.

             *Get make-up assignments when returning from an absence.

             *See teachers for additional help.

  • Seek and use past homework assignments, classnotes, and available review materials.
  • Follow directions.
  • Find out when tests will be given out.
  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a normal breakfast before testing.

During Tests

  • Read and pay careful attention to all directions.
  • Read each passage and accompanying questions.
  • Read every possible answer-the best one could be last.
  • Read and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test.
  • Reread, when necessary, the parts of a passage needed for selecting the correct answer.
  • Don’t expect to find a pattern in the positions of the correct answers.
  • Don’t make uneducated guesses.  Try to get the correct answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers.
  • Decide exactly what the question is asking; one response is clearly best.
  • Don’t spend too much time on any one question.
  • Skip difficult questions until all other questions have been answered.  On scrap paper, keep a record of the unanswered items to return to, if time permits.
  • Make sure to record the answer in the correct place on the answer sheet.
  • Only change an answer if you are sure the first one you picked was wrong.  Be sure to completely erase changed answers.
  • Work as rapidly as possible with accuracy.
  • After completion of the test, use any remaining time to check your answers.
  • Keep a good attitude.  Think positively!

After Tests

  • Examine your test scores; ask the teacher to explain your test scores if needed.
  • Congratulate yourself on identified areas of strength.
  • Identify areas of weakness which you will want to improve for a better performance next time.
  • Ask your teacher to suggest areas of study that will help you perform better on the next test.



Students may experience anxiety about tests and may experience heightened anxiety before a testing situation.  A certain degree of test anxiety is normal and may help students prepare more effectively, work more efficiently, and remain focused during testing.  Too much anxiety, however, can negatively affect performance.  The following strategies may assist students, parents, and teachers in reducing test anxiety.

Student Strategies for Reducing Test Anxiety

  • Share your feelings of anxiety with parents and teachers.
  • Think of the test as an opportunity to show what you know.
  • Review homework and materials which pertain to the test topics.
  • Relax, breathe deeply and stay focused on the test.
  • Remember the test is only one way your academic performance is measured.

                     -taken from TNDOE “Test-Time” Strategies for Students, Parents, and Teachers








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