Test Taking Strategies

University of North Carolina: Counseling and Psychological Service


Rule 1: Arrive early instead of barely on time, so as to be organized and ready instead of in a panic. Try to go into the test alert and calm instead of tense and anxious.


Rule 2: Regard a lapse of memory as perfectly normal; do not let it throw you into a panic. If you block on answering one question, leave it for awhile and return to it later.


Rule 3: Make certain that you fully understand the test directions before attempting to solve any problems or answer any questions.


Rule 4: Plan how you will use your time during the exam. Quickly look over the entire test and divide up your available time as appropriate to the number and type of questions that you find. Then be careful not to mismanage your time so that you find yourself with insufficient time to answer all the questions.


Rule 5: Read each question carefully and completely before marking or writing your answer. Re-read if you are at all confused.


Rule 6: Ask your instructor for help in interpreting a test questions that is unclear or ambiguous to you. He will probably want to clear up the misunderstanding for everybody if the question really is misleading or confusing.


Rule 7: Be careful not to give any impression of cheating.


Rule 8: Do not be disturbed about other students finishing before you do. Take your time, don't panic, and you will do much better on the test.


Rule 9: If you have any time left over, edit, check, and proofread your answers. Use all the time available to eliminate careless errors and to improve your answers as much as possible.