Veteran teacher and our expert Jim Sarris has written 155 best test taking tips taken from his book 155 Proven Test Taking Tips.
This article is an excerpt of 19 of the best test taking tips for higher grades from Mr. Sarris’ book and reprinted with permission. We have added some additional information that you will find helpful for better grades.
19 Best Test Taking Tips Before Your Test
1. Make sure you understand the information as you’re learning it.
That way, you won’t have to “re-learn” it or “cram” later on.
How can you be sure you you understand the information is one of the best test taking tips you’ll even learn.
You will know because of your learning styles – you will either see the information as if you have a movie in your mind, you will hear the information in your mind, or you will feel it as if you touched it or acted it out.
2. Read and study information in meaningful chunks (by chapters or units) so that you’ll be able to file and retrieve information easily.
3. At the end of each chapter or unit, identify the information that was most important. Make up flash cards that you can easily carry and use for study on a regular basis. Great test takers get better grades when using this as one of the best test taking tips.
4. If you’re an auditory learner, make a recording of your important notes so you can review them on the run.
5. Estimate how long you’ll need to study all the material. Then, set up a schedule and stick to it. Be realistic at all times. Give yourself enough time to go through things without rushing.
6. Look at past tests to determine how you can improve test results. This is again one of the best test taking tips for higher grades.
7. Look at the big picture. Ask the teacher about the test. Find out what information will be stressed and the kinds of questions that will be asked. Then go over your text and notes to develop a study strategy that works for you and add it to your took kit of best test taking tips.
8. Pay attention to the study guides teachers hand out. Teachers tend to put information in these guides that are clues and you can use them as your own clues for the best test taking tips and material that will be on the test.
9. Ask the teacher to clarify what will be (and not be) on the test.
10. Pay attention to the clues the teacher gives out: does he put things on the board, say things more than once, openly say, “This will be on the test?” Once again, these are obvious clues you can use for the best test taking tips you need for higher grades.
11. Generate a list of possible questions you would ask if you were the teacher.
12. Before a test, break study sessions into manageable time units. You’ll remember more if you study for short periods of time (45 minutes to 1 hour) and over a longer period of time (1-2 weeks) than if you cram all your study into a “binge” session.
Some of the best test taking tips make use of what is called primacy and recency. This means that you want to shorten your study sessions because you will remember what you studied first and studied last the night before the test.
13. Study the most difficult material when you are most alert.
14. Practice answering essay questions before the test. Ask yourself how you would answer the questions at all levels. For example: How would you describe, compare/contrast, predict, classify, apply, evaluate, prioritize, etc?
15. Use mnemonics techniques to memorize lists, definitions, and other specific kinds of information.
16. If you’re old enough, form a study group with other students in your class to discuss and quiz each other on important material. This will add other perspectives and help you with material you may have overlooked.
17. Maintain healthy living habits. Get a good night’s sleep before the test. If you want to put your best test taking tips into practice you need rest and eat protein the day of the test for better grades.
18. Finish your studying the day before the test.
19. Studying while you’re tired is a waste of time! Don’t do it. Break up your studying into manageable chunks.
Jim Sarris is a veteran teacher currently working on additional memory strategies and how to help people practice foreign languages. He is the creator of Memory Skills Made Easy and an expert on learning styles, memory and best test taking tips.