Ten Proven Steps to Successful Test Taking

  • Memory Data Dump Write down information before you start the test that you may forget - formulas, dates, places, etc.
  • Preview Test Write your name on the test and review the entire test whether paper or online. If paper, circle or underline key words and phrases to "piece it apart" to help make long and short questions easier to comprehend
  • Second Memory Data Dump Write down additional important information while taking a test that you may forget
  • Test Progress Schedule Decide the best way to get the most points in the least time
  • Answer Easy Questions First answer the easiest questions with the most points
  • Skip Difficult Answers Read each question twice and set a time limit for solving it - or skip it and attack it later as time permits
  • Review Skipped Questions Recall related information about each question - answers may be hinted at in other sections of the test
  • Guess at Remaining Questions Do not leave a question blank. If essay, write what you do know relating to the question
  • Review entire Test Look for misread directions and careless errors. Use all of your test time. To stop early can mean lost points on your test!
  • Preparation for Test The best way to reduce test anxiety and be prepared for a test is to study effectively
    • Read the material before the lecture (highlight key terms and concepts or take notes as you read) as it is more difficult to get motivated to read after the lecture is over.
    • Attend every class to take complete notes (Cornell System shown below) - review notes as soon as possible after class to fill in the gaps. Review your notes frequently and compare notes with another student. Studies show that a student only retains 20% of the material after walking out the door after class without reviewing notes soon afterward!
    • Find a "study buddy" and set a schedule for study. If you know you're going to have difficulty with the subject, promptly request a tutor at the Academic Assistance Center, Owen 270.
    • The Cornell Note-taking System To take notes using the Cornell system, rule each sheet as illustrated, with a 2 1/2 inch margin. This system can also be adapted for taking notes with Microsoft Word.
2 1/2 inches August 29 Sociology
Details, answers, and definitions

As you listen to the lecture, write your notes on the right side of the margin. After class, write key terms, topic headings, and questions in the left column. (Once you get used to this system, you may be able to write in both the right and left columns during class. To study, cover the right side and use the headings and questions on the left to quiz yourself. (this creates the same effect as flash cards without the extra work.)