How to Prepare to Take a Test
Your test day is quickly approaching. Make sure you’re prepared by learning what to do before the day arrives, on the day itself, and while taking the test.
Before the Test
- Review Your Notes: According to The Education Corner, there is a well-documented phenomenon known as “The Forgetting Curve.” As you amass new information in your notes, you are likely to forget a significant portion of it. To help reduce the amount of forgotten material, reviewing your notes daily or weekly may help you recall up to 75% of your notes.
- Use Study Aids: Study aids are tools to help you practice and memorize material. Their interactive component makes them a highly effective study method. There are plenty of free resources available. We recommend using two or three different study aids.
- Don’t Cram: Avoid the urge to learn everything in a single day. Your brain will not have time to properly absorb the information and you will spend more time memorizing rather than learning. Instead of cramming, plan well in advance for your exam and dedicate a little bit of time each day to prepare for your exam. For more study tips, check out this blog.
- Complete a Mock Test: A mock test is one of the best ways to prepare for an exam. Taking a mock test will help you gain insight into which topics you understand well and where you need to dedicate more study time. It will also help place you in the right mindset and provide you with a good idea of what to expect on your actual exam day. We encourage you to also time your exam and mimic the conditions of the actual exam as much as possible.
- Get Plenty of Sleep: A good night’s sleep the day before your test is absolutely essential! Your brain will function much better and be able to recall more information if it is properly rested.
- Eat Breakfast: Eating a healthy, well-balanced meal before your test will help calm your nerves, fuel your body, and balance your blood sugar levels to help you think clearly. According to the BBC, eating certain foods may even help improve your focus!
- Arrive Early: Arriving early at your testing site is very important. If you arrive too late, or even just on time, you may cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Allow ample travel time for unexpected traffic or poor weather conditions. Also keep in mind that when you arrive, you will need to check-in and find your seat. Aim to arrive 15-30 minutes before your test begins.
- Bring Needed Items: Consider bringing a water bottle, pencils, a snack and any approved testing items, such as a calculator. Keep in mind that you may not be able to bring all of these items into the actual room, but you may be able to store them in on-site lockers. If you have a break during the exam, these items may come in handy!
- Bring Two Forms of ID: Most testing sites will require two forms of valid ID to check-in. Be sure to check if you are required to bring any additional documentation, such as a test confirmation number.
- Wear Comfortable Clothes: Bear in mind that you will likely be sitting in one place for an extended period of time. Wear clothing that is comfortable and will not distract you. Temperatures in testing rooms may vary quite a bit, so it’s also a good idea to bring layers so you can adjust, if necessary.
During the Test
- Skip Tough Questions: Do not spend too much time on one question. If you find yourself stuck on a question, save it for later. Use your initial time answering easier questions to help build up your confidence and earn points. Also, pay attention to the point value of each question; this will help you determine how much time it’s worth. If you do skip a question, make sure to return to it later. Try to answer all questions, unless you will be penalized for incorrect answers.
- Read All Possible Answers: Avoid selecting an answer before you have read all the answers. You may discover a suitable answer, but is it the best answer?
- Double-check Your Selection: While you should be cautious about changing an answer (your first choice answer is statically correct), don’t be afraid to alter your selection if you have a good reason. Sometimes answering another question will help you gain clarity to a previously-answered question. If you finish the exam with spare time, be sure to review your answers and make sure you have selected the answers you intended.
- Look Out for Negative Words (e.g. Which one is NOT correct?): Don’t be caught off guard or tricked by negative words! Make sure to read the question carefully so you’re not deducted points for simply misinterpreting the directions. You may also be able to select multiple options. Always read, read, read!
- Keep Track of Time: Budgeting your time will ensure you finish the test. If your exam is divided into sections, do a quick calculation of how much time to spend on each section before you start.